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1. Hindu Administrative Institutions. 

2. The Mauryan Polity. 

3. Some Aspects of the Vayu Purana. 

4. The Matsya Purana: A Study. 

5. Silappadikaram (in the Press). 

First Published .. .. J930 



'Studies in Tamil Literature and History* was first 
published in 1930 by Messrs. Luzac & Co., London. 
The book went out of print in the beginning of 
this year. In view of this and also of the fact that it is 
prescribed for study by candidates taking Tamil at the 
Intermediate Arts examination at the University of 
London, the Secretary, External Department, University 
of London, wrote to me asking whether I am reprinting 
the book. JMis and the increasing demand for the book 
made me approach the University of Madras with the 
request to help me in the publication of a second 
edition of the book. And the University has been kind 
enough to undertake to reprint it, for which I express my 
grateful thanks. 

In this edition I have added in an Appendix some 
notes which are the results of further studies on the 
subjects discussed in the book. 

14th December, 1936 


To the earnest student of Indian History and particularly 
of South Indian History, a deep and critical study of 
ancient Tamil literature is of the utmost importance.' 
The necessity for such study came hlome to me strongly 
in 1923 when I was nominated to a Research Student- 
ship of the University of Madras, in the course of the 
investigation on the subject of Hindu AdmuMstratitip 
Institutions I felt more and more 1 the need for an 
intensive study of the priceless literary treasures of 
Tamil. Hence I devoted my leisure 'hours to a study of 
Tamil literature, and the results of such study were a 
series of six articles on the Mystic Poets of the Tamil 
Land which appeared in the Hindu during 1924 and 1925, 
one article on the Art of War as practised m South! 
India in the Annals \of Bhandark&r Rese&rdH Institute, 
Poona, one on Tantrayukti to the Journal of Oriental 
Research, Madras and three on Tamil Social Life in the 
Hindu Illustrated Weekly. Lastly on the suggestion of 
Professor P. T. Srinivasa Ayyangar, I prepared a mono- 
graph on a comparative study of the Tirukkwral and 
Sanskrit literature, of which, a portion has appeared in 
his History \of the Tamils. 

The present volume is a collection of (Jiese stray 
writings together with the results of further studies on 
the subject. The first chapter is devoted to an examina- 
tion of the Satigam age, and of the Saiigam works so- 
called. I have attempted to prove that the Sangam is 
not a myth- In the second and third chapters a 
biographical sketch of some of the celebrated Sangam 
poets and Mystic poets is attempted. The fourth 
chapter is a study of the life and times of the author of 
the Tirukhufut, and the latter portion of it is devoted to 
an examination of the parallel icteas to be found in the 
Sanskrit *& works. 


The last three chapters of the book deal with the 
political and social organization of the ancient Tamil 
Land as can be gathered from the literature itself. The 
first chapter is on Administrative Institutions such as 
kingship, council, administration of taxation and justice. 
Though the materials are too meagre to attempt any- 
thing like a history of the institutions, still 1 have 
endeavoured to make the best use of them. The next 
chapter is on the institution of war, organization of the 
army and navy, and international relations, as the 
materials available for such study are ample. The last 
chapter is on the life of the people their urban and rural 
life, their chief pastimes, their skill in and appreciation of, 
the fine arts such as music and dancing, their marriage 
customs, and their simple festivals. In the examination 
of these details in respect of social and political 
organizations, I have confined myself to the Sangam 
works, and whenever a reference is made to later works 
like the Tevamm or the Divyapratomdam, it is only to 
show how tradition persists in this ancient land. 

My thanks are due to the editors of the Hindu and 
the Anwtis of Bh(mdarkar Research Institute for permit- 
ting me to utilize the articles which have appeared in 
their columns, to Sriman K. Ramaratna Ayyar, B.A. and 
Pandit M. Raghava Ayyangar for suggesting several im- 
provements in the manuscript, to Professors K. A. Nila- 
kanta Sastri and V. Rangacharya for going through the 
manuscript and giving me much valuable advice, to Mr. 
S . Anavaratavinayagam Filial, Reader in Tamil, Madras 
University, Mr. S . Vaiyapuri Pillai, Editor of the Tamil 
Lexicon and Dr. P. S. Subramaniya Sastri, Assistant 
Editor for offering useful suggestions when the work 
was in the press, and to the Syndicate of the University 
of Madras for having kindly permitted me to publish 
this book. 


September 25,1920. 











Section i. Introductory 


Section ii. Sources of Information 


Section iii. The Legend 


Section iv. Other References to the Three 



Section v. Another Legend 


Section vi. The ' Myth ' of the Three 



Section vii. The Age of the Tamil Sangam . . 


Section viii. The Designation Sangam 


Section ix. The Extant Sangam Works 


Section x. The Pattuppattu 


Section xi. The Eighteen Minor Works 



Section i. Nakkirar 


Section ii. Kapilar 


Section iii. Paranar 


Section iv. Avvaiyar 


Section v. Ilankoadigal 


Section vi. SSttanar 



Section i. Introductory 


Section ii. Saivn Mystics Tirujna Sambandar, 

Appar Svamigal, Sundaramurti- 
svamigal and Mftnikkavasakar . . 88-103 
Section iii. The Vaisnava Samayacaryas 
NammalvSr, Kulafiekara AlvSr, 
Tirumangai Alvir and An^il -. . 103-1 16 



Section iv. Other Mystic Poets Tirumular, 
Tayumanavar and Ramalinga- 

Section v. Conclusion 




Section i. 

The Concept of Muppal 

Section ii. 

Sources of Information 

Section iii. 

The Age of Tiruvalluvar 

Section iv. 

The Religion of Vajjuvar 

Section v- 


Book I. 


Book II. 


Book III. 



Section i. 


Section n, 

Pre-historical Period 

Section iii. 

The Epoch of the Tolkappiyam 

Section iv. 

The Epoch of the Tirukkural 

Section v. 

The Epoch of the Epics 

Section vi. 

The Council 

Section vii. 

The Department of Taxation 

Section viii. 

Administration of Justice 

Section ix. 

The Village Administration 



Section 1. 


Section ii. 

The Occasions for War 

Section iii. 

The Army Corps 

Section iv. 


Section v. 

The March of the Army 

Section vi. 

Different Stages of Expedition 

Section vii. 

The Curiosities of War 

Section viii. 

War Music 

Section ix. 

Naval Warfare 

Section x. 

International Relations 

Section xi. 

Ethics of Warfare 

Section xii. 

The Battle of Kalingam 


Section i. Towns and Town Life 














Section ii. The Village Life 

Section iii. Marriage and Marriage Customs . . 

Section iv. Dancing, Music, and Other Amuse- 

Section v. Some more Customs of the Tamils 
APPENDIX Additional Notes 






Generally the phonetical method is followed 
in transliteration 

Long vowels are indicated thus : a, e 
c represents % 5F, W 
d t * 

} * 







IT is evident that an invaluable mine of information is 
found buried in the huge mass of Dravidian and 
especially Tamil literature for reconstructing the history 
of the ancient Tamil land. And there is also evidence to 
demonstrate that this plant of Tamil literature shot up, 
of course gradually, into a huge tree with various branches 
containing fruits and flowers, under the sympathetic and 
distinguished patronage of the kings of those good old \ 
days. It is claimed by the supporters of tradition that 
the institution of an Academy designated in later literature 
as Sangam flourished for thousands of years with its seat 
in the capitals of the Pandya country, the latest of which 
was Madura. Under such distinguished auspices as the 
direct assistance rendered by all the Tamil kings including 
the Colas and the Ceras, the fruitful literature of classical ! 
type grew and grew to a lofty extent. The geographical ' 
region where the Tamil literature continued to flourish 
is furnished to us by many of the commentators of 
the Tolkappiyam. According to this testimony 1 that 
territory was bound by the river Vaigai in the south, 
the river Marudam in the north, Karuvur in the west 
and Maruvur in the east. Put briefly, this would include 
portions of not only the Pandya kingdom but also portions 
of the Cola and the Cera kingdoms. Need there be, 
then, any doubt for the conclusion that the Tamil literature 
was richly patronized by the then South Indian Kings? 

1 See the gloss of Hampfiragar, Seg5varaiyar, and NacdcSrkkiniyar on 
the rttra 398, Solladikfrom. 


The daief source of information is the continuous 
tradition as embodied in the Tamil literary works of an 
original character. The next source covers the vast 
field of commentaries, some of which are well authenti- 
cated. There are also other sources, which are, however, 
secondary in character inasmuch as they refer to incidents 
connected with this particular institution, but not 
directly. Under this head come, the accounts of 
Western geographers some of whom visited this land and 
recorded their observations. There were others who 
have left records compiled from such notes and observa- 
tions left by such visitors. Among these figure the 
invaluable works like the Periplus, Ptolemy's Geography 
and that of Pliny. Again the Ceylon tradition as embed- 
ded in the Mtihavamsw, the Rajavali and the Rdjaratnakari 
come under this category. 1 The inscriptional evidence 
is also to be treated as a secondary source of information 
inasmuch as the information is meagre. Last but 
not least, is the reference in contemporary and post- 
contemporary Sanskrit literature. Thus the sources of 
information are jixjn number. While the first two alone 
are valuable inasmuch as they transmit tradition, the 
other lines of evidence are useful only so far as they 
corroborate, to some extent, the legendary names and 

Twnil Literary Works. Among the Tamil literary 
works which make mention of the term Sarigam in 
the sense of a lay royal academy* prominently 
figures the Tiruvifaiyfldal Puranam. The extant 
Timvilaiyfakd Pfaranams are two in number, the older 
and the later. The authorship of the older work is 

1 See Sanded Books of Ceylon, vols, i and ii (London). 


attributed to Perumbarrappuliyur Nambi and the work 
may be chronologically fixed in the twelfth century A.D. 
The later work is the composition of Paranjotimunivar 
and may roughly date from the sixteenth century. It 
may be noted in passing, that another version of this 
work also exists in Sanskrit called HalasyaMah&tmya. 
This work contains a number of stories containing 
miracles attributed to Lord Siva enshrined in the temple 
at Madura. Though the work is a composition of much 
later times, still much of the matter it contains, especially 
the legendary portions, seems to have been current in 
much earlier times, at least earlier than the sixth century 
A.D. We shall revert to the legend contained in this 
work in the sequel. The other literary works which 
mention the term Sangam in the technical sense of 'an 
assembly of the classical school' are the Tevarom (seventh' 
century A.D.) where Appar swamigal refers to one poor 
Darumi who won a prize in the Academy. 1 

The very fact that the great Saiva Samayacarya 
Tirugfiana Sambandar 2 and Vaisnava acaryas like 
Tirumangai Alvar in the Periyatirumoli (iii. 4-10 and 
9-10) 8 and Andal the great Vaisnava mystic poetess in 
the Tiruppavai* speak of $ahga-t-tamil, shows tiSat 
by the time of these acaryas, roughly from the commence- 
ment of the sixth century, the sun of the classical school of 
Tamil had set. The Tamil langiuage entered on a new phase 


stresor. 9 Tirunavu-Tirupputtflr Tiruttan, 3, 

* Ttvaram, p. 1179 Swaminatha Pag<Jitar Ed. 

Here the term Madwaittokai (i*gJ&>ffpQfitres>&)\& translated as stmgha 
by Sekkilar, Periya Pr<Jtww, Tirugfianasambandamurti Naya^r Pur&jam, 
st. 843. 

This is very important as it shows that foka* means the academy, and 
not the mere technical sense in which the Z?ow# AlaAktovm uses it. 

1, 5. 


different from the earlier classical type. It is then 
plausible to postulate a theory that the period, namely, 
the end of the fifth century marked the extinction of the 
Academy as the writers of the time conceived it. We 
know from later events that the Academy died hard. 
According to the tradition transmitted by the GMruparam- 
p&r&i of both Tengtdw, and Vadagalai versions, 1 a legend- 
ary story is told of how the Tiruvaymoli got approved by 
the Madura Sarigaxn. It is said that one of the Alvars and 
a devoted student of Nammalvar, Madurakavi built a 
temple in the village of Tirunagari and established the 
image of his guru, Nammalvar. When a festival was 
arranged to be celebrated in his honour, a strong opposi- 
tion came from the then members of the Academy at 
Madura. At this time 300 poets adorned the assembly. 
They wanted the Tiruvaymoli to be approved before a 
festival was held in honour of its author. When this 
was known, Madurakavigal wrote the beginning of a 
single stanza in the Tiruvaymoli Kannankalalinai (& 
esBGff dp^cSSazir) on a palm leaf and asked it to be placed in 
the Saiigam plank. No sooner was it deposited than the 
plank cast off the three hundred poets and accommodated 
only the leaf containing the single phrase of the 
Tirwv&ymoli, thus establishing its acceptance and 
approval. Again, the poet Kamban is said to have 
received the imprimatur of the Sangam. 2 Further 
thelre are distinct references to the Sangam as an 
Academy in the Periyapurawm* There is again die 
recently published Takkayagapfxarwni of Ottakkuttwr. 
Here the first line of the stanza 714 nuns as follows 4 : 

i PinpaiaLkiya Perumajjiyar, pp. 64-6. *Sa<Jag6par ant&ti, at. 48. 

* See for instance Tinigfianasambandamfirti Nayan&r Puranara, st. 843. 
P. 233 cd. by V. Swamin&tha Ayyar (1930). 


The Commentaries. The other equally valuable source 
of information consists of the learned glosses left to us 
as a rich legacy by our illustrious ancestors. The first 
rank is offered to the legend of the Sangatn as narrated in 
the commentary of the Irwyanar Ahapporul, the latter 
popularly known as Kalaviyal, a Grammar of love 
poetry in sixty sfitras. We are not at present 
concerned with the work itself but with the elaborate 
gloss on the work. The authorship of this commentary 
is attributed generally to Nakkirar. 1 The tradition 
that Nakkirar's commentary was handed down orally for 
ten generations before it was put into writing, certainly 
leaves room for doubt that some additions might have 
been made by later hands. On this account, to deny any 
credit to Nakkirar's hand in it is not quite convincing. 
What is more significant is that the celebrated com- 
mentator Naccinarkkiniyar follows the account given in 
the Iraiyanar Ahapporul in his commentary on the 
Tolkappiyam Poruladikdmm. 2 In his gloss on the sfttra 
649 of the Tolkappiyam 8 Per-Asiriyar, equally dis- 
tinguished, also seems to take the tradition for granted 

^ For a discussion on the subject see M . Raghava Ayyangar 'a contribu- 
tion to the Sen Tamil vol. iv, pp. 303-11. According to this learned Panotit 
the original gloss of Nakkirar passed on, according to its own version to ten 
hands the last being Nilakantanar. After him it would appear that the 
extant commentary took its present shape. In this process the hand of 
Ilampfiranar, the well-known commentator, on the Tolk&ppiyam is evident 
as is seen from similar passages occurring in both the commentaries. 

*Sfitras 35 and 51 Tolkappiyam, Seyyu\iyal by Pandit R. RSghava 
Ayyangar (1917). 

3 Sutra 649. cSfamtS Qf&Q eS&rmSuj 

In the course of his gloss Pr-.$iiriyar continues: rdr(yff*<9j (y>AJ&r 


when he refers to the three Academies and members of 
the three Academies. 

The same value is attached by another com- 
mentator Adiyarkkunallar whose gloss on the Silappadi- 
k&mm is very well known. From these, one fact emerges. 
Three comjmentators of no mean scholarship and repute 
have unreservedly accepted the version of the commenta- 
tor on the Iraiyanar AhappomL Though it is easy to 
dismiss these valuable works as unhistorical and nxncritical 
and hence worthless to students of history, still we cannot 
afford to credit commentators with such ignorance of the 
subject which they were handling. When they quote 
with approval, it means that they were satisfied of the 
veracity of the tradition behind the account. It also 
demonstrates how tradition that has grown around the 
three Sangams has been persistent in the Tamil land. It 
would be interesting to know what this legend contains 
and we shall examine it presently. To these may be added 
the commentary on the stanza 714 of the Takkayagap- 
parani to which we shall have occasion to revert soon. 

Among the secondary sources of information the 
epigraphical evidence is attested by the larger Sinna- 
mannur plates of the tenth century A.D., an inscription 
of much importance. The grant is made by Rajasimha, 

It is argued from the term *(3pr#>/68>*< <F*^7'or three kinds of 
Academies that it refers to muttamil or a collection of verses on lyal, Isai 
and Ndfakam. But that the commentator did not have this in mind when 
he referred to it, is seen from a later passage in the same s&tra: 

Here the term : &xxrjpajeo>*f f&spjg!T@u>is a significant one and is an 
unimpeachable reference to the members of the three Academies. Any 
other construction will be untenable. (See Tolkappiyatfi, ed. by Diwan 
Bahadur S. Bavanandam Pillai, vol. iv t p. 589 and ff) ; contra V. Narayana 
Ayyar Jour. Orient. Research April, 1928. Article on "The Sangam 
Literature. 9 


the Pandya king. 1 Here there is a valuable, though 
casual, reference to the establishment of the Sangam as 
an organized institution. Most of the inscriptions now 
available date from roughly A.D. 600 by which time it is 
probable that the Sangam as an active institution had 
ceased to exist. Hence they had no occasion to mention it 
and did not mention it. 


We shall now proceed to narrate the legends 
contained in the above works with regard to the.Sangam 
and see how far they are supported by other records such 
as the Ceylonese books, the evidence of travellers, etc. 

The following is an account as contained in the 
commentary on Iraiyantir Ahapponvl. The Pandyas 
founded three Sangams or Academies, the first Academy, 
the middle Academy and the last Academy. It is said 
that members who constituted the first Sangam were 
549 beginning* with Agattiyanar (Agastya in Sanskrit). 
Among others were God Siva of braided hair who burnt 
the three cities, Murugan the Hill-God, Mudinagarayar 
of Muranjiyur and Kubera, the Lord of Treasure. They 
say that as many as 4,449 persons composed a number 
of poems including the Paripddal, Mwdtunarai, Mtidu- 
kurugu and Kalariyavirai. The above persons continued 
to be members of the Sangam for 4,400 years. They 
were patronized by eighty-nine kings commencing with 
KaysinaValudi to Kadungoti. It is also said that seven 
of these kings were themselves poets. The meeting- 
place of this Academy was Madura which was afterwards 
swallowed by the sea. Agattiyam was the grammar 
followed by them. 

The members of the second (middle) Sangam were 
fifty-nine and some of them were Agastya, Tolkappiyanar, 

i5././., vol. iii, pt. iv, p. 454. 


Inrndaiyur-Karuiigoli, Mosi, VeUurkkappiyanar, Siru- 
pandarangan, Tiraiyanmaran the King of Tuvarai 
(Dvaraka,) and Kirandai. It is said that 3,700 persons 
composed poems including Kali, Kurugw, Vendali and 
Viy&lamahi Akaval. The Agattiyam, the Tolkappiyaw, 
the M&pur&nam, Ifainunukkam, and BMapuranam 
were their grammars. The duration of the period of 
this Sangam was 3,700 years. It is said that fifty-nine 
Pandyan kings commencing with Vendersejiyan and end- 
ing with Mudattirumaran were its patrons. Among these 
were five poets. The Sangam was located at Kavata- 
puram. This also was perhaps swallowed by the sea . 

The last Sarigam consisted of forty-nine members 
and consisted of Siru Medaviyar, endambudanar, 
Arivudayanar Perunkunrurkkilar, Ilam Tirumaran, 
Nallanduvanar, the Madura scholiast, Marudan Ilanaga- 
nar, Nakkirar the Schoolmaster's son. Here were 
presented poems of 449 poets. Some of them were 
Neduntogai (Ahananupu), Kurunbogai Nanuru (four 
hundred), Nwrrinai N&nuru (four hundred), Pumnanilru, 
Aingufwium (five hundred) P\adirrupp\atPu, K\ali (one 
hjundred and fifty), Paripadal (seventy), Ktittu, V\ari, 
Sirrisai and Perisai. They followed the grammars known 
as the Agattiyam and the Tolk&ppiyam. This Sangam 
lasted for 1,850 years. Forty-nine were the kings who 
patronized this Academy commencing with Mudattiru- 
maran who established his capital at Madura when a 
portion of his kingdom was devoured by the sea. The 
last patron of this Academy was Ukkirapperuvaludi . 
The meeting place of the Sangam was the Uttara Madura 
(North Madura, the modern city of Madura) . 

The Legend Examined. In a brochure of his, entitled 

Essay on T&ml Literature? the late Prof. Sesagiri 

*Pp. 7-8 


Sastri remarked: 'With reference to the first two 
Sanganis I may say that the account is too mythical and! 
fabulous to be entitled to any credit and I do not think 
that any scholar who has studied the histories of the 
world will be bold enough to admit such tales_within the 
pale of real history. There may have been some truth in 
the above account as regards government of the Madura 
kingdom by the Pandyas, but the number of the kings who 
are said to have ruled over the kingdom, viz., eighty-nine 
Pandyas who are connected with the first Sangam and 
fifty-nine who are connected with the intervening Sangam 
is not quite trustworthy and to accept it as a true fact 
we require some further evidence/ An examination of 
the legend shows that the late lamented professor was 
justified in making such observations. There is 
first, the introduction of _Gpds of the Hindu Pantheon, 
such as, Siva, Muruga, Kubra, as members of the 
Sarigam thus introducing the element of the super- 
natural. Secondly these Gods are associated with 
human poets and poetesses with no distinction whatso- 
ever. Thirdly there is the abnormally lengthy duration 
of the periods of the Sarigam besides the extraordinarily 
long reigns of the Pandyan kings. Fourthly, there is 
the mention of artificial figures which impair very much 
the authenticity of these accounts. For example, it is 
said that the first Sangam lasted for 4,440 years and 
consisted of 4,449 poets. The second covered a period 
of 3,700 years and the poets of the period were also 3,700., 
The third Sangam covered a period of 1,850 years and 
had on its rolls 449 members. Artificiality is evident in 
its symmetry. The length of the period of each SaAgam 
is a multiple of 37 and the total duration is 37 X (120 +' 
100+ SO). 1 Fifthly, there is the anachronistic confusion 

1 See P. T. SrinivSsa Ayyangar, History of the Tamils, p. 232. 


of assigning one and the same author to different 
Satigams. As an illustration, we may point out Agatti- 
yanar is mentioned in the first two Academies. Either 
this is wrong or the Agattiyanar in the second Sangam 
was a member belonging to the family of the original 
Agastya. This alternative explanation would be valid 
if the theory of the first two Sangams as separate insti- 
tutions is proved. But this is an improbability. 1 

Sixthly, no works mentioned in the accounts relating 
to the first two Sangams have come down to us except 
perhaps the Tolkappiyam which tradition assigns to the 
second Academy. Lastly while the commentator men- 
tions only three Pandyas as poets of the last Sangam, 
the extant Sangam works refer to nine Pandyan kings 
besides six Cola chieftains. Thus, what the late 
Sesagiri Sastriar remarked about the first two Sangams 
is largely triue of the third Academy also. It is however 
significant to note that members of the Hindu Pantheon 
are not identified with human poets in the third 
Academy, and most of the works and names found in 
the account are authentic as is seen from the extant 
angam works . 

The latest writer on the subject, Mr. P. T. Srinivasa 
Ayyangar has drawn attention to some inaccurate state- 
ments in the commentary on Ahapporul from which 
he has concluded that the commentator is an un- 
1 reliable 'witness. 2 Let us state them categorically and 
then proceed to examine them seriatim. (1) Numerous 
poets must have flourished before the age of Agattiyanar 
for him to compose a grammar of literary Tamil and there 

1 A similar instance is that a poem of Mucjinagarayar a member of the 
first Academy, finds a place in the Puram a composition of the third 
Academy. The same is also true of Vanmlkiyar, Markandeyanar, and 

* History of the Tomtits, pp. 233-5. 


is no reference to the existence of these poets in the 
commentary. (2) Some poems of the Puram (31, 33) 
and other collections of the third Sangam bestow lavish 
praise on the success of the Cola kings and the defeat of 
the Pandyas. Would such poems be included in the 
anthologies authorized to be made by the kings of 
Madura? (3) The kings were so often fighting with each 
other that it must have been impossible for the Madura 
king to attend to this. (4) The idea of an organized 
Academy is a very modern one and it is surely a violent 
anachronism to transfer it to many hundreds of years ago. 

In regard to the first argument, it may be urged that 
the commentator on the Ahapporul is engaged in giving 
an account of the Sangam and not a description of the 
conditions prior to the Sarigam. No preliminary survey 
of the literary activity before the alleged Sangam period 
is attempted. From the facti of the mention of an 
authoritative grammar, it is taken, for granted that a body 
of literature existed before Agastya composed his work 
on grammar. The absence of reference to the previous 
works will not detract from the value of the account. 

In regard to the second and third arguments, as has 
been already said, though the headquarters of the 
Academy was at the Pandyan capital, still it was richly 
patronized by all the Tamil chieftains including the Colas 
and the Ceras. There is no proof to state authoritatively 
that it was the sole and exclusive privilege of the 
Pandyan kings. It was then a common Academy where 
facts were stated whether it would be acceptable to the 
sitting monarch or no. The poets of those days always 
enjoyed the rare privilege of entering any Court and 
tendering advice to the chieftains whenever they erred 
from the right path . Would it be too much to assume 
that Madura was the centre of the then University life to 


the growth of which the Colas and the Ceras contributed 
not a little/ Thie fowrth argument that an organized 
Academy was an impossibility in ancient times, is not 
convincing. We know from Sanskrit literature that 
p&risads became common institutions of the epoch 
of the Upanisads and the earlier Dharmflsutras where 
learned pandits assembled and entered into discussions. 
Sometimes these parisads were presided over by kings 
of the land. It may be originally there was no Sangam 
Hall us such and wherever the king held his Court, 
there was the Sangam. Possibly the institution gained 
in course of time more importance and a need was felt 
for a separate establishment. Perhaps it got a perma- 
nent footing much later than its commencement as 
a recognized body. 

That an Academy acted as a literary censor of new 
poems is evident in the case of the Tolkappiyaim and the 
Timkfouml. In the Payimm or prefatory verses to the 
TolkUppiyam, Panambaranar, a friend of Tolkappiyanar, 
refers to an assembly of a Pandyan king Nilandaru 
Tiruvir Pandyan, where the author of the Tolkappiyam 
presented his work and got it accepted. It is said that 
a certain Brahman versed in Vedic lore of the village of 
Adangodu sat in judgment over the work. 8 According 
to Naccinarkkiniyar the Pandyan king under whose 
supervision Tolkappiyanar got the imprimatur was 
Makirti and that this Adangodu Brahman put the work 
to severe criticism against all of which Tolkappiyanar 
easily defended his work. 

Another instance of a publication in a royal Court 
was that of the Tirukkural. According to a legend the 

* ^u9Q*(g>Li-/D p*#Q*iretiQ*i*QpPuram,S&.ThiB ode is attributed 
to KSvirip-Pumpattiaam KarikkaijoanSr and celebrates the alliance of both 
the CBia and the Pfc?<Jyan kings. 

'See ri*M* 224, 11. 9-11 Madttraikktfici, 11. 60-61. 


Kural was presented to the third Sarigam, but did not at 
first win the approval of the members. It is said that 

the members sat on the plank floating on the tank, along 
with the so happened that excepting for the space 
occupied by the book, the rest went down into the water 
with the members who had to swim for life. Tradition 
associates with this legend the Tirwaalliww&lai which is, 
according to some scholars, a later work. The probable 
historical data that can be gathered from this is the fact 
of presenting a work for approval in a royal Academy. 
These two instances are then enough to demonstrate the 
antiquity of the institution of an Academy on an organized 
basis in the early centuries before the Christian era. 
The Kural ,as we shall see in the sequel is assigned to the 
second cjentury B.C. and hence the Tolkappiyam which 
is generally accepted as the earlier composition must be 
assigned to the third or fourth century before Christ 1 

Change of vem,e\ a probable historical fact. A 
significant circumstance in this connection is that 
the above legend refers to the change of the Sangam 
headquarters from Daksina Madura to Kavatapuram and 
from the latter to the Uttara Madura or the modern city 
of Madura. This is a probable historical fact The 
change of the capital of the Pandyan kings is confirmed 
by other literary references and corroborated by the 
classical writer Pliny, who refers to the transfer of 
capital from Korkai to Madura. 2 The incident of the 
sea swallowing a portion of the Pandyan territory is 
attested by a reference in the Silapfiddikaram* and in 
the Kvlittogffii.' In his gloss on the Silappddik&ram* 

i Sec K. S. Srinivasa Filial, Tflmt/ Foro/JfW, p. a 

* See Warmington, Commerce between Rohan Empire and India, p. 167. 

Canto 3d, 11. 17-22. 

*Mull<kkaH, 104, 11. 1-4. ' viit, 11. 1-2. 


A$yarkkunallar refers to this incident and says that the 
extent of the territory devoured by the sea was 700 
Kavadam or roughly 1,000 miles. An attempt has been 
made on the basis of geology and natural history to 
show that a large continent once existed in the Indian 
Ocean connected with South India which was later on 
overwhelmed and submerged by a faluge deluge. 1 
Though there may be some exaggeration in this account, 
what we are concerned with here, is the mention of the 
incident of the sea swallowing the territory. Per-Asiriyar 
in his commentary on the Tolkappiyam calls this lost terri- 
tory Pawinddw* It is said that the seat of the second 
Saiigam was Kavatapuram. That a certain city by 
name Kavatapuram existed is corroborated by the 
Ramayam and the Arthasastm of Kautalya. The place 
Kavata is among those mentioned in South India by 
Sugriva to the monkey messengers in search of Sita en 
route to Lanka. The verse runs that 'having reached 
Kavata suitable for the Pandyan kings, rich in gold, 
celestial and adorned with pearls and gems, oh Vanaras, 
look for Sita, 8 there.' 

This is clear from the excellent gloss of Govindaraja. 

Again the term Pandya-Kavata is mentioned by the 

1 See V. J. Tamby Filial 's article on 'An Old Tradition Preserved' in 
the Tamilian Antiquary, vol. ii, No. 1. 
*Por*l, on Mtra 649, p. 593. 
cfa. 41. 19. 

See M, Ragfaava Ayyangar's article on 'Valmiki and South India' in 
the Tamilian Antiquary, No. 7. 



K&utaliya as a place noted for a variety of pearl thus 
confirming the statement in the Ramayana. According 
to the commentator of the Arthasastra the reference in 
the treatise 1 is to the Malayakoti hills in the Pandyan 
country. If this interpretation is accepted, it is likely 
that this pame was given to these hills to celebrate 
the honoured name of Kavata, the ancient seat of learn- 
ing. From these perfectly reliable references it is 
obvious that in, the epoch of the Ramayana and the 
Arthasastrw, Kavata flourished as a city of great wealth. 
These lines of evidence show that the capital of the 
Pandyan kingdom was originally South Madura. Later 
on Kavata became the capital, and then the modern city 
of Madura. The transfer of capitals to three different 
places has perhaps given birth to the legend of the three 
Sangams. Though the origin of the Sangams as an 
institution is shrouded in deep mystery, still the fact 
remailis that there was something like an organized 
Academy from ancient times and it continued to exist for 
several centuries. A definite stage was reached by the 
beginning of the sixth century when the Tamil language 
underwent some transformation in regard to style, 
metre, etc. 


In an old palm-leaf manuscript discovered in the 
house of Sirrambala Kavirayar of Cewur, Pandit 
Swaminatha Ayyar found an important verse which is 
published in the Silappadikamm.* The author of the 
said verse adopts completely the account of Nakkirar so 
far as the first two Sangams are concerned. In his 

* ArthasOstra, Bk. ii, ch. 11. f Third Ed., Intro., pp. 7 and 8. 


account of the third Academy, more names are added.; 
Some of them are Tenurkilar, Manalurasiriyar, 
Penmsendanar, Perumkiumarar, NilaJkantanar, Sittalai- 
sattanar Uppuri Kudi kilar, Damodaranar, Kapilar, 
Paraaar and Kalladar, The value of this account 
consists in its agreement with the oldest extant account 
and carries the tradition unbroken ., 

While on this subject we can recall the two beautiful 
stanzas 1 of Poyyamolippulavar, a poet of the later medieval 
age, probably of the ninth century A.D. This poet possibly 
spent a part of his life in the Court of the Pandyan 
king. Perhaps to justify his poetical talents, the king 
asked him to sing two stanzas relating to the Sangam. 
Apparently the images of the 49 members of the third 
Sangam were set up and whenever he addressed every 
one of these images, they nodded their heads in token of 
approval. Bereft of the legend this testifies to an 
attempt to revive the institution of the S'angam . 


In this connection mention must be made of Parafi* 
jotimamunivar's TiruvilaiyaM Puranam wherein the 
fifty-first Tiruvikviyadal distinctly refers to the mytho- 
logical origin of the Sangam. This chapter is entitled 
as Sangtopp^ktoi-IWLta-patalam and consists of 38 stanzas 
dealing practically with this. The account which is 
mythical is briefly as follows : In the days of the Pandya 
King Vangyasekara at Madura, Lord Brahma 
performed a sacrifice at Benares and went to bathe in 
the Ganges at the concluding ceremony of his sacrifice 
with Sarasvati, Savitri arid Gayatrl. On the 

* Tamil N&vdar Caritam* st. 64 and 65. 

Hid other contributions are found in the collection of poems that goe* 
by the name of 


way .Sarasvati was entranced, as it were, by the melodious 
sweet voice of a songstress and hence reached the shore 
of the river a little late. By this time Brahma had finished 
his bathing ceremonies. On Sarasvati questioning the 
Lord's action in having bathed without her, little 
recognizing that the fault was her own, Brahma was 
much put out with the result that he cursed her to take 
birth as ( a human being. But Sarasvati realized her 
mistake and implored His pardon on her knees. Then 
the Lord became merciful and added that out of fifty- 
three or fifty-one aksaras (letters) of which her whole 
body was made up forty-eight akswras would become 
forty-eight poets of great renown and fame. The forty- 
ninth letter 'Ha' would be the Lord iva appearing in 
the disguise of a mdvan or poet. These woiuld bring 
glory and light to ignorant lands and peoples. Thus 
only she cquld be redeemed. 

The story goes on to say that these forty-eight took 
their birth in different places, but still soon met together 
and wandered through the length and breadth of the land 
defeating the learned of every Court and assembly in 
arguments and disputations until at last they reached the 
Pandyan capital. The Lord Siva met them here in the 
disguise of a poet, took them to His Temple and 
disappeared. They went to the royal assembly and won 
the love and esteem of the king by sheer display of their 
profound learning. Thereupon the Pandya ordered a 
special building to be constructed on the north-west of 
the temple as the Sangam Hall. Here the Lord Siva 
appeared to them often and once gave a plank (two 
spans square) (&<mgappalakai) perhaps a magical one, 
which would give room to the really deserving though it 
appeared very small outwardly. Thus it is said to have 



accommodated all these forty-nine poets among whom 
Nakkirar was the President. These poets were the 
authors of several poems. 

To advert to what we have already said, the original 
of the Tirwrilaiyadal Purdnam was the Sanskrit Hal&sya 
M&k&tmyam belonging to the category of the Sthala 
Pwr&nas. And when the latter was written, the author 
must have heard something of the Tamil Sangam extant 
in Madura, and it is just possible that he gave it a 
mythological colouring which served in those days to 
captivate the minds of the masses thus giving it an 
enormous importance in the public eye. Though much 
credence is given to this account, there is nothing of 
historical value as such, for writing the history of 
the Sangam. 

Excepting that the account supports the theory of the 
existence of a great Sarigam in Madura, 1 and that, only 
one, where the best poets of the time were richly 
rewarded, it is not of much value. 

The question now presents itself whether there were 
three distinct separate academies different from one 
another. A critical study of the account in the commentary 
on the Irwyanar 'Ahapporul may tend to confirm the 
tradition contained in the legend of the Tirwvilaiyadal 
Pwranam according to which there was only one 
Academy. The study of the former legend shows no 

1 It would appear from the gloss of Per-ASiriyar on the Tolkappiyctoi 
(seyyuliyal stitra 179) , that there was a special hall where the poets of the 
day met It went by the name of Patfimavfapam 'Q^,04Ffwr//r<iW> jBpGiirj 

u>a$fu> ^ffT^uu/rtlL.ff'aPar' What is more remarkable is that the 
epics, the Stiappadik&ram and the Matiimtkalai refer to the patfimandapam 
(Mom., canto i, 1. 61, Sttap., v, 1. 102). The commentator of the 
interprets the term as Vidy&wanfapcKm, Olakkamanfapain. 


cleavage between the first and the second Academy; or 
even between the second and the third Academy. That 
the same king Mudattirumaran saw the fall of the 
second at Kavatapuram and founded the third in modern 
Madura demonstrates only transfer of capital and 
consequently transfer of headquarters of the Academy. 
The evidence for the Sangam as three separate 
institutions is too meagre to build anything like a theory. 
The term enba which occurs in the commentary of 
the Kalaviyal is a significant expression in early Tamil 
literature meaning what the French phrase 'on dif 
means. In other words the expression points out that 
the current traditions were universally believed and 
accepted. The author of the commentary on the 
Iraiyanar Ahapporul then shared the popular belief in 
traditional three Sangams. One explanation can be 
that three different stages marked onit the growth of the 
Academy, though we have not much proof of this 
progressive evolution. It is obvious that a new stage in 
the history of the Sangam begins witih the epoch of the 
Nayanmars (Saiva devotees) and Alvars (Vaisnava 
devotees) and continues to the present day under the 
kind patronage of the Raja of Ramnad. It is therefore 
reasonable to conclude that there was an Academy from 
early times which continued its existence unbroken. But 
when it originated, we are not able to say with" any 

But what is more difficult is to fix the chronological 
Emits to the different stages of the Academy. If we are 
to give credence to the legend in the commentary of the 
'Ahapporuf, the commencement of the Academy must fcJe 
placed somewhere in 9000 B.C. Though the heyday of 


Dravidian culture is carried to the fourth and the fifth 
millenniums B.C. by recent archaeological discoveries in 
the Mohenjodaro and Harappa, still it is by no means an 
easy task to establish a connection between these 
Dravidians of the Punjab and the Tamils of the South 
India. Consequently it is difficult to accept a very 
ancient date for the prevalence of what we now under- 
stand as University life. It would be too bold to accept 
sjuch an early date. From the fact that Gotama the poet 
refers in the Purwm to Yudhisthira (396) and another 
poet Mudinagaraya to the Cera King Udiyan Ceralatan 1 
who fed the Pandava and Kaurava forces in the 
Greiat Mahabharata war it can be assumed that these 
poets lived in the epoch following the Mahabharata war. 
According to the legend contained in the gloss of the 
Kalaviyal, these two poets belonged to the first Academy 
while their poems figure in an anthology ascribed to the 
third Sangam. This inaccuracy considerably detracts 
from the value of the legend for historical purposes. But 
these two poems in the Puram seem to throw some light 
on the chronological problem of the Sangam. The refer- 
ences take us to the epoch of the Mahabharata war. The 
battle at Koiruksetra is generally believed to have taken 
place in the eleventh century B.C. Therefore it is argued 
that somewhere about the eleventh century B.C./ or a little 
later the Sangam must have come into being. But against 
this it may be argued that there was a poetic convention 
according to which a poet of very much later times 
might sing of the glories of his patron's far-famed ances- 
tors. If there is any force in this argument the theory of 

1 P. T. Srinivasa Ayyangar thinks that it refers to the celebration of the 
death of the Kauravas by Udiyan by distributing food to people (History of 

In Pa$dit RSghava Ayyangar's opinion the first Sangam was 
contemporaneous with the events of the epics. 


the tenth or the eleventh century B.C. as the commence- 
ment of the epoch of the Sangam goes to the wall. If 
tfie author of the Tirukkuf^l could be proved to hav* 
lived in the second century s.c. 1 then there is warrant for 
the assumption that the Tolkappiyam is a much earlier work 
at least one or two centuries earlier than the second century 
B.C. We have seen already that according to the P&yirwm to 
the Tolkappiyam the latter was presented to the Academy 
and won its approval. If this account has any significance 
it compels us to qonclude that prior to the days of Tolkap- 
piyanar the Sangatn existed as an institution and the Gram- 
marian did what the scholars of his time did. It must be 
also borne in mind that the grammar of Tolkappiyanar or 
his illustrious predecessor Agattiyanar 2 presupposes a 
body of literary works. Roughly then a date like the 
fifth century B.C. may be assigned in regard to the origin 
of the Sangam. 

The expression Sarigam is the Tamil form of the 
Sanskrit word Stmgha. The early poem where there is 
a reference to this institution is the Mddwr&ikk&nci.* 
It is generally believed that the word became popula- 
rized by the Jaina and Bauddha Sanghas which were 
religious associations and the term came into popular use 
after the establishment of a Dravida Sangha by Vajra 

1 Professor V. Rangacariar's researches have led him to this conclusion. 
See Educa. Review, October, 1928. According to the Professor the eleventh 
century B.C. is impossible, for the first Sahgam presupposes the existence of 
the Brahmanical civilization in the South and as the advent of the Aryans 
into the Dekhan took place about 700 B.C, some centuries must have elapsed 
before an expert body of literary censors was formed. Hence he would 
assign 300 B.C when the first Sahgam was organized. From this it has a 
continuous life until A.D. 800. Ibid. 

2 Pan$t Swaminatha Ayyar Sangattamilum Pirkcilattamifam, pp. 
see T. R. e?a Ayyangar, Dravidian India, pp. 81-2. 

3 1. 762 


Nandi in A.D. 470 a Jaina organization. 1 The 
mgkafai refers to a certain Sangha as distinct from the 
Bauddha Sangha. 31 In the first instance the term means 
an assembly of poets. 8 

If it is granted that the Tamil Sangha or Sangam is an 
imitation of the Bauddha Sangha, there is the possibility of 
its being known to the South Indians in the third and the 
fourth: centuries before Christ, since history teaches us 
the advent of the Buddhists into the South of India and 
Ceylon during these early centuries. Further it is 
no alien word to the Sianskrit literature of this time. 
It was used both, in its technical and general sense in 
the Dh&rmafastras, Epics and Arthatastras. There is 
no force in the wgumentwm silentmm, namely, that the 
designation does not find mention in the Sangam lite- 
rature so-called. The Sangam works do not mention the 
term Sangha but mention terms like tokai, kudal, avai, 
kalakam which mean Sangam. In the Manimekalai the 
term Sangam, as we have already seen, is used in the 
sense of an assembly. Granting again that the term 
came into use long after the commencement of the 
Saftgam as a literary Academy, still the existence of 
like institutions, call it what you will in centuries 
before Christ cannot be questioned in the face of a strong 
tradition which is almost the only source of information 
of undated history. 

Recently an attempt has been made to interpret the 
term in quite a different light utterly disregarding 
the voluminous data in the shape of tradition. 4 
The suggestion amounts to this: that the term 

* See History of tte Tomtit p. 247. 
*L. XXX, 11. 3-4. 

* ipriftjri* em*u> Qu/TdjQarir &>y>m* canto vii, 114. 

* Journal of Oriental Research, vol. ii, pt. 11, pp. 149-51. 


means a collection, a group, an anthology 1 and that the 
Sanskrit word 'Sangba' was {adopted in a curtailed 
form as a 'Sanga' or it was a Sanskrit variant for 
'Sanghata'. This term is translated as tokainilaP 
or simply tokai in Tamil Dandi Alaiikarom. No 
doubt the interpretation is ingenious and sets aside 
the learned views of the great scholars commencing from 
the commentator of the Kalaviyal down to the present 
day. Unfortunately there is not sufficient proof to 
support it. The verse 8 in the Kavyadars means 'there 
exists that detailed classification of poetry, into Muktaka, 
Kulaka, Kosa, and Sanghata; but it is not mentioned 
here as it is included within sarga-bandha (or composition 
in cantos).'* 

In commenting on the term 'Sanghata' Taruna- 
vacaspati says: 5 QWfff: ^RWI^R: <?3F3i(J 5 R : 

This means Sanghata is that classification of poetry 
which deals with only one topic and which is the work 
of a single author, as per example, the works entitled 

*In the commentary on the word Sangam in verse 714 of the Takka- 
yGgapparani two alternative meanings are suggested; either it refers to 
chank shell or to the collection of poetry, Iyal f Isai and N&fakam. In a 
special commentary tacked on at the end of the book the learned editor of! 
the work observes that there were three separate Sangams in respect of 
these three sub-divisions of Tamil poetry.. lyal refers to literary Tamil, IM 
refers to that division of Tamil literature which consists of verses set to 
music as distinct from poetry or* drama. (See Tamil Lexicon, vol. i, part ii, 
p. 301 and p. 273). N&fakam refers to dramatic literature. For details of 
this literature, see V. Swaminatha Ayyar's Sangatt&milum PirkSlattamilum f 
pp. 45-52 (Madras University, 1929). These three constitute what are known 
as Muttamil and have nothing to do with the traditional Sangams. See 
chap, iii of V. G. SuryanSrayana Sastri, History of Tamil Language. 

I) I. 13 

* Trans, by S. K. Belvalkar, Poona 1924. 
6 P. 10 of the KfivyOdarta, edited By M. Rangac^rya, Madras 1910. 


Sarat Sanghata and Dramida Sanghata. Let us again 
see what another commentator Hrdayarigama has to say 
on this. His gloss runs thus: 

A number of different Mokas which are concerned 
with a single definite object constitutes a Sanghata. 
From the above explanations it can be gathered that 
Sanghata is but a classification of poetry. The word 
Sanghata may correspond to P\adik&m and Kalambakam 
whicH are sub-divisions of the Tamil poetry. These 
Padikaxms and K^alambakmns are the works of single 
authors and deal with a single topic. The Sangam 
poems, on the other hand, deal with a number of topics 
and are the works of many an author. Besides, Dmmida 
Sancfhaba, one of the examples given above, seems to 
refer to a particular composition rather than to the 
Tamil anthologies. It would thus be difficult to interpret 
the term in any other light, and sucli conjectures would 
in no way stand the test. 

According to the tradition which finds a mention in 
the famous commentary on the I^aiycmdr Ahapfiorul the 
following are given as the accredited works of the first 
Sangam: Paripddal, M^lunarai, Mw^kwnigu, and 
K&lariy&virw. The works attributed to the second 
Saftgam are Kali, KwruJw, Vendali, Viyalamalai AhavaL 
Agattiy&m, Totk&ppiyam, M&puranam, Ifoinunukkom, 
and Btidapur&nam, the last five being grammatical 
compositions. The compositions of the third Sangam 
are Neduntogai four hundred, Kwrwntogai four hundred, 
Narfiwri four hundred, Purwm four hundred, Ainguru- 
nuru, PodirruppattM, Kuli one hundred and fifty, 
seventy, Kuttu, Van, Slrnfai, Pertiai, etc. 


.It is generally believed that the works of the first 
Sarigam are lost perhaps beyond recovery. The extant 
Paripadal may be the composition of the third Sangam 
rather than that of the first. Since narai and kuruhtf 
are suffixed to the titles of works, it is reasonable to 
conclude that they were musical treatises, and ancient 
Tamil land developed the arts of music and dancing 
besides literary activities. From the works of the second 
Sangam, the synchronism of Agastya and Tolkappiyanar 
is pointed out. No task is more intricate than to get at the 
real facts from the legends that have gathered round the 
sage Agastya. 1 Agastya figures in all the Sangams 
and this ( is to be explained by the fact that members of 
the same family bearing the name Agastya continued to 
flourish. 2 With regard to the compositions of the second 
Academy, we have to take it that all of them have been 
lost. The Tolkappiyam was the grammar during the 
period of the so-called second and third Academies . Like 
every ancient writer of repute, legends have gathered 
round this notable figure, some of them inconsistent 
and absftird. These legends, whatever their basis be, 
illustrate the greatness of the writer and the extraordinary 
influence wielded by him over his contemporaries.* 
The Tolkappiyam is divided into three adikaras or 
books the ehtttadik&ram dealing with phonology, the 
folladikarwm dealing with accidence, syntax, and the 
Poruladikamm dealing with Puram, Aham, Prosody, 
etc. The whole contains 1,276 sutras. Every book 

11 An endeavour in this direction has been made in a recent publication 
of the Madras University entitled Agastya in the Tamil Land, by 
K. N. Sivaraja Filial. 

*Cp. the explanation offered to the repeated mention of Vasistha, 
ViSvamitra and others in the Purafcas by Pargiter in his Ancient Indian 
Historical Tradition. 

About his religion see S. Vaiyapuri Pillai's Critical Essays in Tamil, 
pp. 7643. 


is divided in its turn into nine iyals. While .the 
elutt&dik&raw and the folladikdr&m are interesting 
from both linguistic and philological points of view, the 
Pondadik&ram is valuable as it gives us a glimpse of the 
political, social and religious life of the people during the 
period when Tolkappiyanar lived. 1 The importance of 
tine work is further enhanced by several commentators 
among whom figure 1. Ilampuranar, 2. Per-Asiriyar, 
3. Senavarayar, 4. Naccinarkkiniyar, 5. Daivaccilaiyar, 
6. Kalladar. In addition to the tradition transmitted in the 
commentary on the Iraiyanar Ahappornd, we have other 
traditions all of which mark the following as the accredit- 
ed works of the Sangam: the Ettuttogw, the Pattup- 
pafpu and the P\a4inen-kllkkanakku. To these may be added 
the Silappadikaram and the Mwnimekalai, the two among 
the five epic poems. 2 The Ettuttogai consists of eight 
collections which are as follows : N\arrinai, Kuruntogai, 
AingurMnuru, Padirruppattu, Paripadal, Kalittogai, 
Nedtontogai, and Puf<w&nurM. 

1. The Nurrinca (edited by P. Narayanaswami Ayyar 
with his own commentary), contains 401 stanzas, each 
ranging from nine to twelve lines. In it we find the 
hands of 175 poets. The verses deal with the five 

1 The EtruttadikWaow has been published with commentary of //am- 
p&ranar by Vidvan Subbaraya Chettiar and the gloss of Nacciy&rkkiyiyar 
is a Saiva Siddhanta publication. 

Tbe SolladikQram Ilampuranar is edited by Pandit C. R. Namaiyaya 
Mudaliar; $e#avdraiyar edited by Dampdaram Pillai; Naccinarkkiniyar 
edited by DSmodaram PUlai. Dawaccilaiy&r Tanjore Karandai ^angam 

Poruladik&ram has been edited by Diwan Bahadur S. Bavanandam 
Pillai with commentaries. 

A notable contribution on the Pom}adik&nxm is by Pan<}it M. Raghava 
Ayyangar of the Tamil Lexicon Office. Compare also Sen Tamil vol 16, 
p. 202flF. ; vol. 18, p. 381 and f. ; vol. 19, p. 113 f . and p. 219 ff. To these may 
W added the scholarly work entitled QfiT&triJtSu* 
by Dr. P. S. Snbrahmania Sfistri, M.A. 

The other epic poems are CinWImont, Vofay&Jraii and 


tinais, 1 28 on nwlkii, 32 on marudam, 107 on p&lai, 103 
on neydal and 120 on Kwinji. Its general theme is love 
and its compilation was at the instance of a Pandyan 
king, Pannadutanda Pandiyan Maran ValudL* We do 
not have at present any ancient commentary for this work . 
A significant fact about this anthology and some others 
is the Perundevanar's panegyric verse on God in the 
introduction. Perundevanar, it is well known, is the 
translator of the Mdhabharata and probably flourished 
in the eighth century after Christ. 

2. The Kuruntogai 3 literally means a collection of 
short-poems. In this work is brought together a number 
of verses attributed to as many as 205 poets. This 
collection contains 402 verses in the Ahawal metre, each 
verse ranging from four to eight lines. As in the Narrinai 
the theme of the work is love and the verses can be 
brought under the category of the five tinais. It would 
appear that the compilation of the extant work was 
effected under the patronage of the chieftain of Puri 
(identified with North Malabar) by name Pflrikko. 

There was an ancient gloss on the work by the 
well-known commentator Per-Asiriyar which has since 
become lost. From the fact that Naccinarkkiniyar chose 
to write a gloss on twenty verses, and from the circum- 
stances under which he wrote on these select verses, it 
is obvious that in his age Per-Asiriyar's commentary 
existed except for the twenty stanzas commented upon 
by Naccinarkkiniyar.* 

1 These five tinais are regions of hills, of river valleys, desert, of sea- 
coast and of forests. The evolution of literary conventions denotes the 
passage of man from one culture to another. For an able study on the 
subject, see History of the Tamils, p. 63 ff. 

1 L/f<) ptp uiwif (ur WIT peer &($& 

* See also Sen Tamil vol. xiv, p. 185 f. and p. 338 ff. 

* Edited by Pandit RangaowSmi Ayyangar of Vniyamba<Ji , with a 
commentary of his own. 


3. The AingurwnHru means literally the short five 
hundred. It contains 500 Ahaval verses and the whole 
book can be conveniently divided into five parts, each 
part consisting of 100 verses. Each verse contains 
three to six lines. Every part again deals with the 
five tinais. The first hundred verses are on monwtom 
attributed to the poet Orambogiyar. Ammuvanar is the 
amthor of the second hundred verses dealing with 
ne^kd. The authorship of the third part of the hundred 
verses on kurinji is attributed to the poet Kapilar, and 
the fourth part on palai to Odalandaiyar. The fifth 
and last part containing the last hundred verses of the 
work is by the poet Peyanar and deals with mullaittinai- 
In most cases we have no knowledge of the redactions 
or editors who compiled these scattered works. In the 
case of this work however the name of the compiler is 
known as Kudalur Kilar. The full name of this editor 
is given as Pulatturai Murriya Kudalur Kilar. 1 It is said 
that Kudalur Kilar compiled this Aihguwnuru at the 
instance of the king Ceraman Irumporai, whose full name 
is Yanai-k-featsey-mandaran-Ceral-Irumporai. No com- 
mentary on this work is available at present. We do 
not know whether there was any ancient commentary 
on this. 

4. The PadirwppattM (the Ten Tens) is an antho- 
logy of enormous importance. Here we are introduced 
to a number of kings of the Cera dynasty, with a splendid 
record of their deeds and achievements thus enabling us 
to get at a tntte picture of the political conditions of 
Tamil land about two thousand years ago. Of the ten 
books into which the whole work is divided, the first 
and the last are not available to us. Each of the 

u-ftir/f Spirt. 


remaining eight books consists of one hundred stanzas. 
The following names of kings among others occur 
in this collection. They are Imayavanamban Ne$un- 
ceralatan, Palyanaiccelkelu Kuttuvan his brother, 
Kalanfeikkanni-narmudicceral, Senguttuvan, Kuttu- 
vanceral his son, Adukotpattucceralatan, Selvakkadwn- 
govaliyatan, Tagadur-erinda-Perum Ceral Irumporai, 
and Kudakko-Ilanceral Irumporai. Some more details 
about this monarch are also found. In the Second Ten we 
find Imayavaramban reigning fifty-eight years and in 
the Third Ten his younger brother Palyanai Kuttuvan 
ruling for twenty years, who helped Palai Gotamanar 
in his performance of a great yajiia. According to the 
Fourth Ten Narmudicceral ruled for twenty years. 
The Fifth Ten mentions the reign of Senguttuvan as 
fifty years and the Sixth Ten of Ceralatan as thirty-eight 
years. The Seventh Ten mentions Selvakkadungo's 
tenure of rule as twenty years. Irumporai ruled for 
seventeen years according to the Eighth Ten, and 
Kudakko for sixteen years according to the Ninth Ten. 
Thus a close study of the Padirruppatiu is in- 
valuable to a student of Cera history. Neither the com- 
piler nor the patron of the work is known to us. 1 

5. The Paripatdal 2 (literally stanzas of strophic 
metre) is according to tradition a composition of the 
first Academy as well as the third Academy. If both 
are different works, the first Sangam work is lost. 
The Pwripddal of the third Academy is said to consist of 
seventy stanzas attributed as usual to multifarious poets. 
It is unfortunate that as many as forty-six verses of this 
important work are lost. The only available por- 
tion of the Pwty&d&l consists of twenty-four stanzas. 

1 There exists an old gloss on it which has been printed in his edition 
of the text by Pai?<Jit Swamjnatha Aiyar. 
* See Tolk. Seyyuf tffw, 120-2. 


There is an ancient commentary of Parimelalagar 
which has been printed with the available texts by 
Mahamahopadhyaya V. Swaminatha Aiyar. 

6. The Kalittogm, otherwise known as Kurunkalit- 
ttigoi or simply Katff' is yet another important work 
of this category. It contains one hundred and fifty 
stanzas in the kali metre dealing with the five tinais. 
Its theme is love but it also contains a number of 
moral maxims. Incidentally it furnishes us with 
some peculiar marriage customs current in those 
ancient days. Kadungon, Kapilar, Marudan Ilanaganar, 
Cola Nalluttiran and Nallanduvanar are the poets who 
composed the various songs in the work. We have 

no prima facie evidence as to the name of the com- 
piler and the patron at whose instance the work was 
compiled. But it is generally believed that one of the five 
poets Nallanduvanar was the compiler. The celebrated 
commentator Naccinarkkiniyar has written a gloss on it. 

7. The Neduntogai, otherwise known as ahapp&ttu 
and popularly known as ahananuru or simply aham is an 
anthology of sufficient importance and value to a student 
of ancient Tamil culture. It contains 401 stanzas in the 
Ahcwal metre and is divided into three sections, 
KalirriySwi-nwai* of 121 verses, Manimidaipcwlam* 
of 180 verses and Nittilakkoviai 41 of 100 verses. Its 
general theme is love. The length of the verses varies 
from thirteen to thirty-seven lines. As many as 145 
names of poets are given in this collection whose 
compiler was Uruttirasarman, the son of Uppurikudi 

1 Edited by Djmddarara Pillai; tee also Sen Tamil vol. xv, pp. 1-17 
and 115-6. 

* mmfipflvirksr *DJT 


Kilar of Madura. It was accomplished under the distin- 
guished auspices of the Pandyan king Ukkirapperuvaludi. 1 

8. The Purananum otherwise known as Purapp&ttu 
or simply Pur&m is a valuable anthology of 400 stanzas 
in Ahawl form. 2 It is the counterpart of the preceding 
work the Ahan&nuru, and deals with aspects of ancient 
Tamil culture and forms a good record of the Tamil 
civilization in ancient times. There is a view that the 
work is a later compilation inasmuch as the name of 
Poygaiyar, a poet of Post-Sangam days is mentioned 
among the poets referred to in the Puram. It also 
contains the poems of Muranjiyur Mudinagarayar, 
Vanmikiyar and others who, according to the legends, 
belong to the first Academy. Thus the anthology 
contains odes ranging from the epoch of the so-called 
First Sangam to that of Post-Sangam. Whatever may 
be the date of its compilation, the events it treats of are 
ancient and hence invaluable to an antiquarian. 

The PattwppattM is a collection of ten poems, the 
composition of which is assigned to the epoch of the 
third Sangam. Against this may be advanced that it 
does not find mention in the list of works given in the 
gloss on the Inaiyanar Ahapporul dealing with the 
traditional age of the Sangam. How this argument is 
only a frail reed to lean lupon can be proved by other 
reliable testimony. The chief and unassailable points 
which lend strong support to the view that they are also 
to be styled among the Sangam works can be categori- 
cally stated. There is, first, the fact that the poets who 
are the authors of these verses are all Sangam poets, 

1 Edited by V. Rajagopala Ayyangar with introduction by Pap<Jit 
R. Raghava Ayyangar. 

Edited by Pandit SwSminStHa Ayyar. 


the celebrated names found in the Etputtogai collection 
including Mangudi Marudanar, Nakkirar, Kapilar, etc. 

Secondly, the kings celebrated in these poems like 
Karikarcolan, Tondaiman Ilandiraiyan, Pandiyan Nedufi- 
jeliyan are kings who were patrons of the Sangam poets 
as testified to by accounts in other works of the Sarigam. 

Thirdly, the theme of the poems is predominantly of 
the nature of ofam, and subordinately of the nature of 
purtm, the subjects largely relating to the five tinais or 
the literary conventions according to the explanation 
furnished by the great grammarian Tolkappiyanar. 

Fourthly, there is the literary style of the poems them- 
selves. The language, the classical style, and the metre 
peculiar to that style are all in evidence to point out the 
authenticity of these poems as belonging to the category 
of the traditional Sangam . 

It is then obvious that the PwttMppatpw is to be 
included in the Sangam works proper. 1 The ten poems 
of which the , work consists are the Tirwwwuharrup- 
padai, the P<orMtwr-arruppadw> the Simpanarruppadai, 
the Pemmpfindrruppadai, the M\ulkdppattu t the Madfiwaik- 
k&iici, the Neduwlvadai, the Kwrinjippattu, the 
Pattinapp&lai, and the Malaipadukadam. We shall 
briefly examine each of these poems. 

1. The Timmiimharwppadai is a poem of 317 
lines and is the composition of poet Nakkirar. It is 
a poem on the different mjanifestations of God Muruha 
or the War-God as presented in the different shrines 
of Tamil India, The sKrines referred to in the poem 
are Tirupparaftkunram, Tirucclralaivay (Tiruccendur), 
Uruvavinankudi (Palni), Tiruveragam (Swamimalai) 
and Palamudirsolai. One characteristic feature of tHe 

See the article on 'The Age of Pattttppattu', by T. A. RSmafinga 
in the Tdwtfwm Antiquary, No. 9, pp. 


whole is that these are all hill shrines. There is 
a legend that has gathered round the origin of the 
composition of this poem. A short notice of this will 
be made later on in the life sketch of the poet Nakkirar. 
Suffice it to say here that it illustrates that Nakkirar was 
an ardent devotee of the Subrahmanya cult. The poem 
has assumed a sacred character about it and is got by 
rote by every follower of the War-God. The value of the 
poem lies in its depicting the social life of the people in 
ancient Tamil Nadu. Naccinarkkiniyar has written a 
valuable commentary on it. 

2. Portinar-arruppadai is an important composition 
of this category. Its value lies in affording rich 
materials to a student of the political history of ancient 
Tamil India. It is a poem siting by the poet Mudatta- 
makkanniyar. The king celebrated by the poet is no other 
than the famous Karikarcolan, the son of Ilanjetsenni. 
Here we are introduced to the life of the king Karikala 
under the respective heads of his birth, heroic deeds and 
administrative capacity. Incidentally the poet gives a 
description of the then Cola kingdom, its richness and 
fertility due to the unfailing waters of the Kaviri, its 
agricultural -and economic prosperity, the result of true 
statesmanship on the part of the nuling sovereign. 
Though it is natural for a poet who expects munificence 
from a patron like the ruler of the land to exaggerate 
his character and genius as well as the conditions of 
the kingdom under his sway, still the work under notice 
is a valuable contribution and can in one sense be 
regarded as an historical composition. The poem 
consists of 248 lines in all. 

3. The Simp&narmppadai is as valuable as the 
preceding work the Powwr-arruppad&i. The author- 
ship of this composition is attributed to one Idaikalinattu- 



nallur Nattattanar. The king celebrated by the. poet 
is Nalliyakkodan of Oyma nadu, a chieftain of the 
Oviyar dan. In narrating the exploits of this chief, the 
poet makes mention of several chieftains who were 
liberal in gifts. These chiefs are Pehan, Pari, 
Kari, Ay, Adigaman, Nalli and Ori. In addition, light 
is also thrown on the three capital cities of the triumvirs 
the Pandya, Cera and Cola. There is a special reference 
to the Ceran king Kuttuvan planting the emblem of the, 
bow on the lofty Himalayas (11. 47-50). Other cities 
mentioned by the poem are Velur, Amur and Eyil. 
Thus we have here an elaborate description of the 
political conditions of South India, invaluable to a 
student of history. This poem contains 269 lines. 

4. The PerMnpdndrruppadai is not inferior in 
importance and value to a student of political history 
of ancient South India. Its author is Kadiyalur 
Uruttiran Kannanar who is also the author of the 
Patfinappdhi which we shall examine presently. The 
Porunar-drruppadwi describes the Cola kingdom and its 
ruler whereas the Perumpdndrmppadai describes the 
kingdom of Kanci and its ruler. The king celebrated 
is Tondaiman Ilandiraiyan. Some aspects of his admini- 
stration are given in an elaborate manner as well as the 
origin of Kanci, and its description, the conditions of trade 
and commerce. It contains sufficient materials for 
writing an historical geography of South India. The 
poem contains 500 lines. 

5. The Mudlaippdttu, the composition of which is 
attributed to Nappudanar of Kavirippumpattinam con- 
tains 103 lines and is supposed to have been sung in 
honour of Nedunjeliyan of Talaiyalanganam. Its general 
theme is love and it gives a vivid description of the 
feelings of a lady separated from her lover who had 


gone to the battle. Incidentally we are introduced to 
factors determining the battlefield, encampment, etc. 

6. The poem Madywikkafici is a long poem in 
those constituting Pvttuppattu. Mangudi Marudanar is 
the author of this celebrated work. We have just 
seen two poems, one dealing with the Cola kingdom and 
the other with Kafici. In this poem there is a description 
of the Pandyan kingdom. The king celebrated by the 
poem is the Pandyan Talaiyalanganattu-c-ceruvenra 
Nediufijeliyan. From this it may be inferred that the 
author of this poem was a contemporary of the ajuthor 
of the Mmllaipp&ttu, Nappudanar, who refers to the same 
monarch. In this poem there is a detailed description of 
the Pandyan capital, the army, trade centres, seaports, 
festivals, and administrative institutions, thus enriching 
the materials for the cultural history of Tamil Nadu. It 
contains 782 lines. 

7. The Nedunalvddai is a poem attributed to the 
famous poet Nakkirar. The king celebrated is again 
Nedufijeliyan of Talaiyalanganam fame, thus pointing 
out the contemporaneity of Mangudi Marudanar with 
Nakkirar. The theme of the poem is more or less the 
same as that of the Mullaippattu. In other words it is 
an expression of the feelings of the lady love for the king 
absent in the field of battle and of consolation by her 
maid who testifies to the great valour of the lord and his 
victorious return. Incidentally it refers to some aspects 
of warfare in Tamil India. There is an excellent 
description of the winter season in seventy lines. The 
whole poem contains 188 lines. 

8. The Kurinjippattu is yet another composition of 
this category bringing out the social conditions of the 
Tamil land in prominent relief. It is the work of 
Kapilar, a contemporary of Nakkirar as we shall see in 


the sequel There is a legend grown round the origin 
of the composition of this poem, viz., to introduce a 
northern king Pinahattan to the beauties of Tamil litera- 
true. In this poem Kapilar 1 essays to depict 
love and village life with its natural and mountain 
sceneries. The theme of tEe poem is simple. A fair 
maiden with a maid was sent to watch the millet field. 
Once a mountain chief in the course of his chase happen- 
ed to come there. He fell in love with the lovely girl 
and married her according to the Gandharva system. 
From that day, they met daily but the knowledge 
of their wedlock was not brought to the notice of her 
parents. Seeing her get emaciated, her mother was told 
by the maid of what had taken place so as to bring about 
the indissoluble embrace of the girl with her lord. The 
poem consists of 261 lines. 

9. Pattinappalai is yet another composition of much 
value. Its author is Uruttiran Rannanar as was stated 
above. The king celebrated by this poem is Karikar- 
colan. It is said that he was so much moved by the high 
literary merits of the composition that he awarded 
sixteen lakhs of pons to its author. It testifies to the 
growing prosperity of Kavirippattinam under the bene- 
volent rule of Karikala v The real value of the poem 
consists in giving us an idea of the trade relations of 
Tamil land with foreign countries, its busy mart and 
some administrative details of importance. It is a poem 
of 301 lines. 

10. The Malaifiadukadam, otherwise known as 
Kfitlw&rwppadai is attributed to poet Perun-Kausikanar 
df Perunkunrur. The poem which is in 583 lines cele- 
brates the achievements of the chieftain Niannan, as well 
as his ancestors and his Court. There is reference to the 

1 See infra a study of Kapilar. 


Siva shrine in the Naviram hill in the kingdom of Nannan, 
and also to the agricultural products, mountains, and 
gardens found therein. 

The next collection of the Sangam works comes 
under the general heading the P^inen-kilk-kan&kku, 
the eighteen poems dealing primarily with morals (Tamil 
aram, Sans, dharma). 1 

The term kllk-hanakku implies that there was 
a classification like mer-kanakku. The works that 
contain less than fifty stanzas, composed in different 
metres, generally come under the kilk-kan&kkM. But if 
the venbd metre is pressed into service, the poem can be 
of any length and can still find a place in kilk-kanakku. 
The mer-kawkku ranges from 50 to 500 stanzas and is in 
the ahawal, kalippa, and paripcidal metre. The Etput- 
hohai and the Pattuppcttfu come under the category of 
mSr-famakkit. Two works like the Naladiyar and the 
Tirukfowral which come under the category of kflk- 
kanakkw deal with the three pumsarthas or objects 
of life, dharma (aram), artha (porul) and kama 
(inborn). The remaining sixteen deal both with dkam 
and pwram, the object aimed at being practice of dharma 
or morals. One may question whether these eighteen 
poems may legitimately claim a right place in the realm 
of the classical works, (Sangam). Apart from the fact 
that traditional lore associates these works with the 
third Academy, some of the tests which we v applied In the 
case of Pattuppattu hold good here. For instance, the 
authors of these productions and the chiefs celebrated 
therein, in addition to the nature of the themes discussed, 


occur also in most of the poems of this list, thus 
corroborating the traditional view now generally 
accepted. These poems which are of different lengths 
are the following: the TirMkkural, the Natodiyar, the 
Ka$a^i~n8rpcklu, the Kainilai, the Iniycwi-n&rpadu, 
the Innd-n&rpadu, the N&nmwikkadikai, the Karnarpadu, 
the Aintiiw^mbadM, the Tinmmoli-iaimhad^, the Ain- 
timii-elupadM, the Tiiwimoli-nurmimbadu the Tiriha- 
dukam, the Eladi, the Acarak-kovai, the Pal^oli-n&nuru, 
the Sifwpancomillam, the Mudumolikkanci. We shall 
notice in brief each one of the above eighteen poems. 1 

1. The Tirukkuml (popularly known as the nwppal) 
is the famous work of the celebrated Tiruvalluvar who, 
according to one version, lived in the early centuries before 
Christian era and according to the other as late as the 
sixth or seventh century A.D. The poem is in the form 
of couplets and deals with the three aims of human life 
dharma, ortfaa and kdma. It consists of 133 chapters, each 
containing one hundred kiiral-venbas, or couplets. Each 
couplet is a gem by itself and conveys lofty thoughts couch- 
ed in terse language. Though the scholarly commentary 
of the illustrious Parimelalagar a happy consummation 
of Tamil and Sanskrit culture is largely in use, there 
were nine equally well-known commentaries of which 
Manakkudavar's gloss which is available is one. 2 

2. The Naladiyar* comes nearer the .Kwnrf in point 
of subject-matter including the division of the subjects. 
It also deals with the three pursuits of human life. It con- 
tains forty chapters, each consisting of ten stanzas. This 

*I have slightly altered the generally-accepted order of these poems. 
See G. S. Duraisamy, Tamil Literature, pp. 163-77. ' 

1 There are a number of editions of this treatise, some with commen- 
taries and some with mere texts. The edition followed here is the eleventh 
edition by Arumuga NSvalar. For a detailed study on the subject, see 
below the chapter on TirvUuvaL 

'Edited by V. R*jag4$ite Ayyangar, Madras. 


anthology, the composition of which can be attributed 
to different hands, owes its compilation to one Padumanar. 
It has been contended that, as it refers to the Muttarm- 
yars (11 . 200 and 296), the lower chronological limit should 
be the eighth century. 1 This question which is discussed 
by the editor in his preface points to a number of 
data which afford proof as to the antiquity of the poem. 2 
In the opinion of the learned editor, this work must be 
contemporaneous with the Manimehakti and not later 
than that. Anyhow it cannot be earlier than the Kwrtd. 

3. The Kalavali-Narfradw (literally forty stanzas 
dealing with the means and methods of war) is a war- 
poem the authorship of which is attributed to Poyhaiyar. 
From a sutra ^^/f(?6i/flb"in the Puffattinai of the Tvl- 
kappiyam, we find that Kalavali is of two kinds, 3 
one referring to agriculture and the other to war. 
Hence Kalam means a threshing floor or a battle-field. 
The king celebrated in this poem 4 is Ceran Kanaikkal 
Irumporai who had been defeated by the Cola king 
Senganan at the battle of Kalumalam and cast into 
prison at Kudavayil. The aise of elephant corps is 
prominently mentioned. It has been sought to identify 
the author of this work with Poyhai Alvar. But the Cera 
and the Cola kings referred to in the poem are not 
contemporaries of the celebrated Alvar and belong to 
more ancient times as is evident from the colophon at 
the end of the Pumm, 74. The value of the work con- 
sists in giving us details on the art of war as was then 
understood. There are two commentaries to this one 

*See Sen Tamil vol. x, 4. 
*Seep. 11 ff. 

3 'cQfftrtr setrojifi (uebrfSs a&rajy$p 

QfQffirJr Qfiirpfliu 0&A/Sitju> 9 ' Sfitra 76. 

4 See the edition of this poem by Paptfit V<nkataswami N&ftar (South 
Ind. Saiva Siddh^nta Works Society, TinnevUy 1924}. 


ancient and the other modern. 

4. Kwnila? and not Innilai is another poem of 
P^men-kilkkatoakhM. The work is in M.S. and is not 
yet published. 

X/ 5, The Iniyavai-wrpdclu (also Iwyatu-narpadM) is a 
poem Consisting of forty stanzas in venba metre. Pudan 
Sendanar i^ said to be the author of this extant work. 
Each of the forty verses treats of three or four objects 
to be achieved in the world. Iniyaxvai literally means 
'pleasant things/ According to the poem there are 
126 such things in the world which deserve to be wished 
for by every person. It is a poem on or am dealing with 
nlti or maxims. 2 

6. The Innd,-narfrddu is a poem of greater interest, 
and as wias already stated its author was Kapilar, 
It is also a poem of forty stanzas in the venba metre. 
Inna literally means 'not pleasant." Each verse treats of 
four evil things and on the whole we have a catalogue 
of 164 such things which ought to be avoided by every 
right-thinking person. This work also comes under the 
category of poems dealing with nlti or maxims. The 
practical application of what ought to be done and what 
ought not to be done dealt with in these two small 
poems will lead to the progress of mankind. 8 

7. The Nanmanikhadikai* is the work of one 
Vilambinaganar. The available materials do not afford 
any proof 'as to his native home, his caste or the date of 
his birth. Internal evidence of the poem shows that 
he was a Vaisnavite by religion. It contains 104 stan- 

* Sec AtMr Kdlwilai, pp. 29-30. 

* Edited by R. Raghava Ayyangar with commentary, Second Edition 
(Madura), 1920. 

8 Edited by Pancjit Venkataswami Naftar with commentary, 2aiva 
Siddhanta Works (1925). 

4 Edited by V. Rajag5pala Ayyangar with the old commentary, Madras 


zas .in venba metre, each venbd dealing with fotir 
things which one ought to do or ought not to do. The 
author speaks highly of the value of education and 
educational discipline (st 70 and 94). There is an ; 
commentary to this work, but the authorship 
celebrated commentary is highly doubted. 

8. The Karnarpadtf: The authar afflhis poem 
is Maduraikkannan Kuttanar. It consists oft&tty stanzas 
in venbd metre. The theme of the poem is aham or 
love. The poem describes the desperate feelings of a 
lady love who has been separated from her lover by 
force of circumstances, and who eagerly awaits his 
return in the rainy season (fear-Tamil, varsakdla San- 
skrit). The poem reminds us of the Sanskrit work 
Megfoasandesa of the irhmortal Kalidasa. Apart from the 
fine sentiments relating to love affairs, the description of 
nature and natural scenery is vivid. What is of more 
significance is the reference to the yajncnayni of Vedic 
followers (verse 7) . 

9. The Aintinai-aimpadii is yet another love poem 
whose authorship is, attributed to Maran-Poraiyanar. 
Unfortunately no details are available either with regard 
to the author or to the compiler. It contains fifty stanzas 
in venba metre. We find five tinais or literary con- 
ventions mentioned in the Tolkappiyam, described by 
way of illustration, in the works of mer-kanakfou. The 
five tinwis of love as depicted in this poem are the feelings 
of company, meeting, embrace, separation and desire 
for reunion. 

10. The Tinaimoliyaimfiad'u* is the work of Kannan 
Sendanar, son of Sattandaiyar. No more detail is 

1 Edited by Paaflt Venkataswami Natfar with commentary (Saiva 
Siddhanta Works, 1925) . 

a Edited by Pandit TirunavukkaraSu Mudaliar and published by the 
S, I. Satva Siddhanta Works Society, Tinnevelly. 


known about this author. But from literary .style 
and the method of the treatment of the subject, there 
is no denying the fact that the author must have 
flourished in the beginnings of the Christian era. It 
contains fifty stanzas and deals with the five tinais of love 
poetry like the Aintinai-aimpadM, ten stanzas being 
devoted to each of the tinais: Kurinji, Palai, Multoi, 
Marudam and Neydcd. There is an ancient commentary 
to this poem, but the author is not traceable . 

11. The Aintinai-elupwht is a poem exactly in line 
with the above two works which come under the sub- 
division of Tinaic-ceyyul or ain-tinaic-ceyyul. The author 
of this poem is one Muvadiyar about whom no reliable 
data are available. It is a poem of seventy verses and 
deals with dhcm or love conventions. The same five tinais 
are mentioned in connection with this subject, each tinoH 
consisting of fourteen verses. The poems of this class 
throw light incidentally on some of the customs and 
habits of the people of those days. 

12. The Timimalai-nurmimpacki is still another 
poem treating of ahappoml corresponding to the above 
three works. The ajuthor of this poem is said to be 
Kanimedaviyar. As the title of the poem indicates, 
this poem consists of 150 stanzas divided into five tinais 
relating to the subject of love. Thirty stanzas are 
devoted to each of these five tinais in the accepted 
order of Kturinji, PaM, Myjlai, Mwwdcm and Neyddt. 
There is not enough material with regard to the 
life of the author. He seems to have been also an 
ancient poet. 

13. The Tirikadugwn literally 'three drugs' is a 
poem containing one hundred and one verses including 
the first prefatory stanza addressed to Tirumal . The 


author of this work is Nalladanar. Each wenbd refers to 
three things which are compared to the three indigenous 
drugs. 1 As these medicinal articles would effect 
speedy cure of physical ill, things referred to in the 
vetibas would be a cure for mental ills and will lead to a 
mind at ease. There is a commentary, to tbH poem, 
whose authorship is attributed to one Ramanujacariyar of 
Tirukkottiyur . 

14. The l&di is a poem in line with the above 
work Tirikadugam. WhHe in the latter every venbd, 
mentions three wholesome things, in the former a com- 
pound of six medicines is given. 2 These six medicinal 
articles are compared to six worldly truths pertaining to 
the life of householders and ascetics. The author of this 
poem which consists of eighty-two verses in venba metre 
including the prefatory stanza of prayer is Kanimedavi- 
yar. It is believed that this poet was a Jaina by convic- 
tion from the introductory verse. But this admits of 
different interpretations. The positive reference to the 
four Vedas shows that the author's religion was orthodox 
Hinduism. It may be remembered that he was also the 
author of Ti^imalainurraimpMu of which we have 
already spoken. 8 

15. The Acarak-kouai is the work of Mulliyar of 
Peruvayil and reminds us of the acara-kdnda of the 
Dharmasutras and the Dharmasastras. It is a treatise 
on the rules of conduct to be observed by members of the 
Hindu household. It is apparently a collection of verses 
which have been promulgated by seers and sages of old. 
The theme is so identical with the Sanskrit religious 

*Dry ginger (($), pepper (uflarg?), and piper longtun (j&uucS). 

a Edited by Pancjit GdvindarSja Mudaliar with the available gloss of 
Vidvan R&jag5pala Pillai, Madras (1924). 


works that one is tempted to regard it as a later work 
and perhaps a composition of the last period of the 
third Academy. It contains one hundred jand one 
stanzas including the prefatory verse attributed to 
God Siva. Apparently the author was a Saivite'by 

16. The Patomoli-nanurw 1 is the work of Munrurai- 
yaraiyar, apparently a Jaina by conviction. The work 
contains four hundred stanzas in venba metre, each 
embodying a proverb in the ^efcd. Some of the proverbs 
convey lofty ideas and are popular even to-day. 
The chief merit of the poem lies in its references 
to old stories, thus affording rich food for the 

17. The Sirupancamulam or the little five medicinal 
articles 2 is a poem in 98 stanzas in venba metre. As 
the panoamulam or the compound of five drugs would 
go a long way to cure a man's ills, so also the maxims 
contained in each of these venbas would, by proper appli- 
cation, relieve one of the cycle of birth and death. Each 
venba contains five things. The author of this poem 
is one Kariyasan. The style and theme of the poem 
warrant us to confirm it to be an early work. From the 
second stanza it is seen that the work aims at SMadkwmQ? 
ahimsa or non-injtury to living beings, truthfulness, 
refraining from meat eating, and also from theft. 

18. The Mudwmolikk&nci 41 is the work of Madurai 
Kudalur Kilar and contains ten chapters each consisting 

* Edited by T. SelvakeSavaraya Mudaliar, Madras. See also Sen Tomi^ 
vol. xv, where Pa^tfit Tirunarayana Ayyangar has edited a portion of it 
with an old commentary. 

'Edited with the commentary by Pagcjit Afumugam Servai, Madras, 

* Edited by T. Selvak&avaraya Mudaliar, Madras, 1919. 


of ten nlti maxims in sutna style. The term 
kafici is interesting. Kafici is one of the seven Purattinais 
and Mudumolikkanci is one of the K&ncittinai. The 
nature of this tinai is to find a stable basis for the 
unstable things of the world. 1 

The poem relates to different aspects of warn and 
porul. Inbam is not included in that category. The 
author of the work, Kudalur Kifar, is a well-known poet 
in the collections under the category of merhanakku. 
He is the author of somfe poems in the Pm cmdnuru 
and the Kuruntogai. He was apparently a native of 
Tondaimandalam though according to one version he is 
said to have belonged to Madura. 

In the above brief survey of the eighteen poems 
traditionally assigned to the epoch of the third Sangam 
I have tried to utilize as far as possible the available 
editions and their learned introductions . A mere 
glance at these editions will convince every one that 
there is need for getting them well edited and their 
materials, some of them being very old, well exploited. 
It is now for an earnest student of Tamil culture to 
tackle this source of information. From what we know, 
none of them excepting the Kara} and the Naladiy&r has 
occupied the critic's attention in such a degree as 
it should. It seems desirable and even imperative that 
a chronological study of these works should immediately 
be undertaken so as to utilize the materials for an 
authoritative study of the evolution of the Tamil people 
and the progress of their culture in a certain period of 
their history. 

(Dtotkomm) . 



The Name. If there is any force in the theory that 
tradition as transmitted in literature is a fairly reliable 
source of information for the undated period of India's 
history, it is but reasonable to assume that the Sangam 
existed as an institution well patronized by kings and 
poets. Among the notable celebrities who constituted 
the so-called third great Academy at Madura, Nakkirar 
was pre-eminent. 1 That he was a contemporary of Kapilar 
and Paranar, is testified to by the Tiruvilaiyadal 
Ptoranam of Nambi, 2 though a late work. He is known 
in literature by different names, such as, Kirar, Nakkirar, 
and Narkkirar. The word glr in Sanskrit means speech 
or Goddess of Learning and it may be that he was so 
highly learned in his time that people called him Kiran. 
Nakkirar is tfie great Kirar and Narkkirar is the good 
Kirar. But after all there is nothing in the name. We 
are just reminded here of the controversy whether die 
great author of the Arthafastra is Kautalya or Kautilya. 
We are not here concerned with the name of the poet 
but with his personality as exhibited in his writings 
at once inspiring and thought-provoking. 

His Caste. To what caste this poet gem belonged 
is still a moot point. There are two views. One is that 

Ahapporul. see the commentary on Ac first Sfitra, p. 7, 
Edition by BavSnandam Pillai. 

8 Ed. by SwSmin5tlia Ayyar, ch. 15, st. 4. 


he was a Brahman, and the other, that he was a Velala, 
by caste. The first is based on the authority of the 

But there are scholars who regard him as a Velala, 
by caste, belonging to the sub-community of Kanakkar or 
Karumkar taking as their authority the Slrkanwlkw* 
Puranawi popularly attributed to Nakklrar. 1 In the 
commentary on the IraiyanOr Ahapporul, Nakklrar is 
referred to as the son of Kanakkayanar . According to the 
Div&kanam the word Kanakkayar means Otturaippor, a 
teacher of the Sastras. This interpretation is supported 
by the Manimekalai where the term Samayakkanakkar is 
rendered as a teacher of religion/ Again the term is 
used in this very sense in the N&ladiyar. 4 It is highly 
doubtful whether any definite conclusion can be 
drawn from s/uch slender evidence. Whatever caste 
he may have belonged to, need not prevent us from 
giving a sketch of his life with which we are now 

His Date. No task is more difficult than an attempt 
to fix the chronological limits of this celebrated author. 
In fact we meet with this difficulty with regard to every 
ancient Tamil writer. There is again a view that there 
were two poets by name Nakklrar in the Sangam epoch 
itself. This is yet to be proved. A dose examination of the 
internal evidence of his writings and of the contemporary 

1 Qeu&rrru uirffuurrear eurreirgR gjifipp 
ffi/ffeff-tffar/i QjrriflJBf Qsir($&& esrearear 

Aham, 24, cf. Sen Tamil vol. vi, pp. 557-64. 
a See Pa$<Jit Venkataswami Naftar's, Nakklrar. 
' Canto xxvii, 1. 2. 

4 o8r iruLiir 


literature bears out the fact that the author must have 
flourished sometime in the middle of the second century 
A.D. His profound scholarship and the depth of his 
learning won for him many a laurel from his colleagues. 

Nakkiiw and the Sangam. During his age was 
flourishing the Third Sangam of traditional fame. 
It was an assembly of learned men of a high order. 
Nakklrar was invited to preside over the deliberations 
of this august assembly of poets and poetesses. 
The Pandyan king Varigya Cudatnani, the Tamil 
form of 'Varhsa Cudamani' who was ruling at 
Madura 1 was attracted to this prince of poets, and he 
3uly honoured him by conferring on him the highest 
honour which could be accorded to scholars of his 
standing. Nakklrar got an enviable position in the 
Sangam and enjoyed the love and esteem of the king so 
long as he held that office. 2 The place of honour, there- 
fore, is rightly given to his work, namely, Tim- 
wurwgarrupfradai in the well-known collection of 
PattMppatpu? which forms an invaluable portion of 
the vast treasures, of Tamil classical literature. 

The Legend of open contest. The following story 4 is 
narrated of him : 

One evening when the Pandyan king with his queen 
was enjoying the soft and cool breeze, high on the flat of 
his palace buildings, he felt an overpoweringly sweet 
fragrance. He thought that it evidently proceeded from 

ParafijStimuijivar, Tiruvifaiy&tal 52, st. 2. 
2 G. S. Duraiswamy, TamU Literature, pp. 52-6. 
*Ed. by V. SwSminatha Ayyar, Second Ed. (1918). 
4 Sec Parafij5timucivar, Tintvilaiyfifal, whole of Patalam, 52. 


the queen's tresses of hair. But he was not sure of 
this for he knew that she was not decked with any 
flowers. Still he could not trace the source of the 
odour which continued to sweeten the whole atmosphere 
around. He grew inquisitive and resolved to refer the 
matter to the all-wise scholars of his Academy and 
ascertain the truth, if possible, from them. For this pur- 
pose he ordered a bag, containing a thousand pieces 
of gold, to be hung on the wall of -the Sarigam hall 
and made it known to the public by beat of torn torn, 
that whoever should enlighten him as to what he had in 
his mind and resolve his doubt, would be entitled to that 
bag of gold. The news spread like wild fire in all parts 
of the city, not excluding its suburbs. Day after day 
poet after poet flocked to the hall of the Academy, each 
anxious to win the prize. Every one had his say, but no 
one could correctly spot what the king actually had in his 
mind. They all went away disappointed, as none of 
these poetical conjectures satisfactorily solved the king's 

Thus several days passed by and the bag of gold 
was still found hanging in the same old place. There 
was at this time living in Madura a poor Brahman youth 
named Darumi, belonging to a family hereditarily entitled 
to perform the daily worship (puja) in the temple of ri 
Sundaresvarar. He was so poor that no one offered his 
daughter in marriage to him though he much wished for 
it, because only thus could he become fit to perform the 
regular puja. He hoped that with the grace of Sri 
Sundaresvarar he would get at the correct solution 
which would satisfy the king and thus he might .acquire 
the coveted prize which would secure for him a good 
social standing in his community. Engrossed with such 
ideas Darumi entered the temple, stood before the 
deity, and prayed earnestly for grace. No wonder, the 



Lord was moved by his unflinching devotion and stead- 
fast love, and spoke out in such a manner that he could 
hear the verse which he longed for. He anxiously and 
carefully took down what came out from the Lord's lips. 
His joy knew no bounds. He ran in breathless haste 
to the Safigam Hall, repeated the verse 1 before the 
august assembly, and the king was quite satisfied with 
it. In substance it amounted to this, namely, that the 
sweet fragrance emanated from the locks of the queen 
herself. The king immediately ordered that the reward 
might be granted to him, subject, however, to the 
approval of the same by the learned members of the 
Sangam. All of them except Nakkirar highly extolled 
the verse and agreed to the award of the prize to 
Darumi. But Nakkirar did not agree. 

His Obstinacy. He boldly challenged that the verse 
was faulty in ideas . This was, indeed, a bolt from the blue 
for the poor Darumi. He could not certainly believe his 
own eyes or ears, for he was greatly puzzled and per- 
plexed as to how the Lord's own verse could be wrong. 
Yet he dared not question the verdict of the poet, for he 
was not himself a man of letters. When he was told that 
the prize could not be given to him, all his great hopes 
crumbled to pieces. He had no other course than to 
approach the Lord once again and report what had 
occurred, and solicit his help by more earnest prayers. 
Hearing his piteous plaint the Lord assumed the guise 
of an ordinary Pandit, entered the assembly, and 
questioned the challenger about the raison d'etre of his 

strut Qfuuirg] SCMTL.JP Qi>rry3Qt>rr 

Q*fS QuJtiSp p/ 

atfluy <y>9tQ*irr SujByu* y(?/ . Kurmto&ai, st. 2. 


objection to Darumi's verse. Nakkirar replied that 
the statement therein that there was no flower so 
fragrant as the tresses of a high-born maiden, was opposed 
to truth. The God-poet asked if the objection stood even 
against the tresses of divine damsels. Nakkirar readily 
replied that it was even so. The God, in a wrathful 
tone, then, asked if there could be no inherent natural 
fragrance even in the raven locks of the Goddess 
Parvati. The cantankerous critic undauntedly retorted 
that evem the fragrance of Her locks was only acquired. 
The God-poet throwing off His disguise stood before 
him in His true form. Infatuated with the pride of 
learning, our poet would not even then yield, and 
reiterated fearlessly that, whoever he might be, the 
mistake was a mistake., 

N\akkirar Humiliated. The Lord wanted to teach 
him the lesson of humility and in the expression 
of the Bhaganxadgita to make him Vidyavmayasampani / i>a. 
There was certainly vidyd but there was no vin&ya. 
Such overwhelming self-conceit is the great blot of 
learning. The Lord in an outburst of anger opened 
His fiery eye on poor Nakkirar. It caused him 
such unbearable agony that he drowned himself in 
the temple-tank in order to assuage the heat of 
his burning body. 1 Soon he was rescued but got 
stricken with an incurable disease. The pride of 
Nakkirar was thus humbled, and then alone did he 
realize his foolish obstinacy in throwing out a challenge 
even to the Lord. He stood a suppliant before the 
Lord, confessed his guilt and sincerely repented for his 
fault. The Lord who is a $awaMag\atawts<ala readily 
forgave him and blessed that he would be rid of his 
malady if he would but pay a visit to the Kailasa hills. 

l, Patalam, 53. 


He received this order with bowed head and proceeded 
fast towards the sacred hills. 

Another Legend. On his way thither another strange 
incident occurred. Once while 1 he was engaged in offer- 
ing worship to the Lord on the bank of a tank under the 
shadow of a tree, down fell a leaf, half of it touching! the 
water and the other half, the earth. Soon the former 
became transformed into a fish and the latter into a bird. 
This distracted his attention. When he was looking on this 
strange phenomenon, there appeared a huge monster who 
had been authorized to devour a thousand guilty souls. 
It had already secured 999 men and secreted them in 
his cave and had been long eagerly waiting for the last. 
It at once carried him off to the cave and having immured 
him along with the others, went out to bathe before 
taking his unholy dinner. To effect their release 
Nakkirar sang a poem invoking the help of Lord 
Subrahmanya well-known as Timmumigarruppadai con- 
sisting of 315 lines pregnant with meaning. These are 
to-day read and re-read and committed to memory by all 
true devotees of the War-God. Sanmukha appeared, 
killed the monster, and released them all. Then, 
blessed by Subrahmanya, he proceeded to Kalahasti 
where the disease left him for good. Afterwards he 
returned to Madura and was more honoured than ever 

Sometime afterwards it is said that the Lord in order 
to perfect his knowledge of Porul Ilakkanam asked 
Agastya to teach him the same. Thus taught and 
having acquired thorough proficiency therein, he was 
able" later on to write his celebrated commentary on 
the Iraiy&nar Ahappoml, a prose work of outstanding 
literary merit. Loved by the king and esteemed by his 

i SiMhttipitr&ipam, Nakkiraccawkkam, st. 98 ff. 


colleagues as a great poet and critic, he seems to have 
died full of years and honour. 1 

The life of this poet conveys this important message 
to us. However much men may be learned, learning will 
not be fruitful if it is not accompanied by humility or 
U pctfama to iuse the expression of Sri Sankaracarya. 


A Popular Poet. Kapilar is yet another celebrity of 
the Sangam . What is remarkable about him is that Nak- 
klrar with all his overweening pride speaks in eloquent 
terms about him. He says 2 that his powers of speech were 
so great and instructive that he evoked esteem and 
praise from the whole Tamil world. Kapilar seems to 
have been a poets' poet. Poets who wielded mudh 
influence in the Sangam have given due praise to his 
great parts. Besides Nakkirar whom we have already 
mentioned, others like Peruriikunrur Kilar, 3 Nappa- 
calaiyar, 4 and Avvaiyar 5 speak in respectful terms about 
him. It would thus appear that he was a very popular 
poet in his days, and perhaps as popular as Tiru- 
valluvar. There is further evidence to show that he 
was a great friend and companion of Paran'ar of whom 
we shall speak next. The names of Kapilar and Paranar 
often occur side by side in the Tamil literary texts. 

His Caste. That Kapilar was a Brahman by caste 
is clear from two verses in the Pwww. 6 He was 

1 See Patalam, 54. 


ajrriLQu>rr$* SLS&esr A ham, 78, 11. 15-16. 
* Padirruppattu, 85. ( iB60e&&>*s*i36*esr', }\. 12-13. 
*Puram, 174. 
*Aham f 303. 

6 iL//r(?r, uift&etcsr u>ar@pi wisp ear & Pur am, 200, L 13. 
pimp Qfiffp cafieuQffcar uflerfl 
ff it aorta- ^cofi/or Q/r*r<Zta/ff fieorQcv Ibid., 201, 11. 6-7. 


born in Tiruvadavur in the Pandyan Kingdom, 1 
Before we proceed further in the sketch of his life it would 
not be out of $lace to refer to the account contained in 
what is known as the Kapilar Ahaval said to have been 
written by Kapilar himself. This is clearly a spurious 
work of very much later times and could not be credited 
with much authority since it is said there that he was a 
brother of Tiruvalluvar and Avvaiyar and that the latter 
had three other sisters, Uppai, Uruvai and Vajli. 
There is nothing to corroborate this. 

The Date. The age of this poet is still a puzzle. 
But wel may approximately fix it towards the close of the 
first century and the beginning of the second century 
A.D. He was at least a contemporary of Nakkirar. 

Royal Patronage. It would appear that he underwent 
education and discipline under ,a learned acarya who seems 
to have been much struck by his quick grasp and sparkling 
intelligence. 2 When the course of his studies was over, 
Kapilar entered the royal Academy of learning under 
the distinguished Pandyan patronage. He soon won the 
love and esteem of his brother poets and became a 
friend of the king himself who was much pleased with 
the display of his striking originality, his verses contain- 
ing lofty thoughts and noble ideas couched at once in 
the most subtle and wonderfully facile expressions. 

The story of Pirahattan. When he was thus spend- 
ing his time happily in the royal Court, there came to 
Madura a northern King Pirakattan or Brahmadatta by 
name. 8 It seems that Pirakattan had no high regard for 
Tamil poetry. This Kapilar noticed and wanted to 
introduce him to the beauties and glories of this ancient 

*Old Tirwvilaiyfijal 27, 1, 4. 

See VgnkataswSmi Natfar's Kapilar, p. 30 ff. (1921). See also Tamil 
N&valar Caritctm, p. 7, 

Se$ Rrtface, p. 22 of Pattuppatfr, edited by Swaminatha Ayyar, 


literature. This he did by composing and singing to 
him the poem known as KurinjippattM, the eighth in 
the Pdktupp&tpu collection. Pirakattan was so much taken 
up with it that he soon became a devoted student of 
Tamil as is evident from a poem of his found in the 
collection known as Kunmtogai? 

Wiih Part. Sometime afterwards Kapilar seems to 
have left the Pandyan capital and gone on an extentive tour 
to the other parts of the country where lived chieftains of 
small territories enjoying absolute independence. Of 
these the most prominent and the most learned was Pari. 
Having heard of his learning and his regard for learned 
men, Kapilar proceeded towards his city which was 
protected by an impregnable fortress surrounded by high 
and unscalable walls. Pari's rule extended over nearly 
three hundred villages. 2 With him he spent a few days 
composing songs in praise of his achievements. 

With Pekan. The next royal chieftain visited by our 
poet was Vel Pekan, by name, the ruler of a mountain 
tract known as Kalnadu. 3 This chieftain of the Aviyar 
clan 4 was not leading the proper life of a householder. 
He was in love with a dancing girl of the place, caring 
little for his virtuous wife. This lady was a pativratfl, 
siromani. Public sympathy went towards her; but none 
dared to approach Pekan, the ruler of the place. There 
was only one privileged class of people, namely, the 
bards and poets who could speak to him without any fear 
or favour. 

Hers was a sacred cause. It was a deserving case- 
So some influential poets under the powerful leadership 
of Kapilar managed it in such a mjanner tKat Pekan 

J St. 184. 


3 Qu<5*@)L.r Qu*gpu> SirMpanfirruppajai, 1. 87. 
, 262. 


began to realize his folly and evinced a desire to pursue 
the righteous path. 1 From that day forward Pekan 
became the most devoted husband of the queen. This 
service of Kapilar to advance righteousness is highly 

With Kari. Leaving Pekan, Kapilar went next to 
Malayaman Tirumudikkari, the chieftain of Tiruk- 
koyilur, on the river Pennaiyar. He was a great soldier 
and a sound statesman. His war-horse was also known as 
Kari. 2 It is said that he killed in battle, Ori, an equally 
well-known chieftain. 3 He won the love and esteem of the 
learned and the poor by his liberal gifts and presents, 
and is justly celebrated as one of the seven great 
chieftains noted for their munificent liberality. 4 Need 
it be said that Kapilar was accorded clue welcome and 
given rich presents by Kari ? 5 

B\ack to the Court of Pari. Sometime later he 
seems to have retairned to Parumbunadu, the kingdom 
of Vel Pari. And Pari was naturally overjoyed to 
see his revered master once again. Kapilar was 
so much enamoured of the great qualities of his head 
and heart that he resolved to spend the rest 
of his life at his Court. To thq great joy of Pari, 
both of them continued to spend their time together 
on useful purposes. Once it happened that some three 
kings, perhaps his own neighbours, wanted his daughter 
to be given in marriage to one of them and on hife 
refusal attacked him by besieging his capital. The siege 
dragged on for several months and yet there was no 
prospect of the fortress falling. Part's soldiers who 

143: 144-7; see also Vt\w Varal&w, pp. 40-44. 

r*PPa<}ni,\\. 110-11; Marrmai, 291. 


r*PPa<fai, 1. 113. 


garrisoned the fortress resisted with persistence and with 
success, all the time encouraged by the spirited words of 
Kapilar. 1 The poet devised ways and means for 
ensuring an unfailing supply of food for the inhabitants 
inside the fortress. Kapilar himself appeared before the 
besiegers and spoke to them of their fruitless attempts to 
take the city by storm, and persuaded them to desist from 
further endeavours. When the enemy kings learnt that 
Pari was then the lord of only Parambu hill, having already 
given the rest of his kingdom away, they surrounded 
and attacked the Parambu hill, his last remaining territory 
and killed him and took possession of it. 2 Part's death 
brought darkness to Kapilar's mind where once reigned 
the illustrious sunshine. For, as a loyal friend of Pari, a 
new and heavy responsibility now fell on his shoulders. 
Pari had left two daughters who were yet unmarried. 8 
Those were days when a special sanctity was attached to 
the institution of marriage. The marriage problem is 
always a knotty one, and poor Kapilar was faced with it. 
The real difficulty was to find suitable husbands 
becoming the status of the young ladies. Still he 
was not discouraged. In the first instance he took them 
to the royal chieftain Viccikkon 4 and proposed their 
marriage. On his refusal, he next took them to 

105 ff. 

*rbid., 110-12. 

8 iLiLQsurrdj SJDUUQJ 83Lofc$sw_ Gfiiii'n -a/ 

r^ (~ i &* ~ 

L06Br<?<gj) QpesrQ 
uirrfl wmuiiQp6or& 
/f/fey/r/r aeaorQearrrk 


**-mpjb &pe/ca>ffu Ui^fftkQf. Ibid., 113. 
, 200. 


IruAgovel. He also did not countenance the proposal 
and this threw him into a state of wrathful disdain 
against him. 1 Perhaps after similar other attempts he 
reached Tirukkoyilur where it is believed he placed the 
royal maidens under custody of a member of the 
Brahman community. 2 Again according to the account 
given in the Tamil Naualar Caritam, it was the poetess 
Avvaiyar who effected the marriage of Pari's daughters to 
one Daivikan, possibly son of Malayaman Tirumudikkari 
in Tirukkoyilur. 3 The Tirukkoyilur Inscription of 
Rajaraja Cola I throws some light on this.* 

With the Cera King. It would appear that Kapilar 
then went to the Cera King Selvakkadungo-valiyatan . 
The Seventh Ten in Pvdirruppattn is said to have been 
sung in the immediate presence of the king who rewarded 
him with lands and gold. 5 

His last days. Kapilar lived there for sometime, but 
the death of his much-lamented friend Pari so grieved 
him that he made up his mind not to survive him. It 
is said that he starved himself to death on this account, 6 

1 Puram, 201-202. 

2 See colophon to Pur am, 236 and 113. 

8 P. 20 edited by T. Kanakasundaram Pillai (1921). Cf. Pitram, 337, 


S.I.I. VII. No. 863: A.R. No. 236 of 1902, 
5 P. 64, see also Puram, 8 and 14. 

*mn-9($i9p siSeor, in the colophon to the Puram, 23bpr6y8pavtSam 
in Sanskrit. 


reminding (us of the peculiar Jain custom of giving up 
one's life. According to the Tirukkoyilur inscription, 
he entered fire and thus brought about his own death. 

His Works. The various poems attributed to this 
great poet are mostly found scattered in the well-known 
collections such as Ahananurti, Pumnaniim, Kuruntogai 
and Narrinai. Further his writings form an important 
portion in the Padirruppwttw known as the Seventh Ten. 
In P\adinenkrtkkamkfai , the work known as InnS, 
Narpadu is ascribed to him. There are several other 
poems such as Knirinjippatfu, consisting of 100 
stanzas being the third section of Aifikuwmttru attributed 
to him. Of these the Knrinjipp&ffu forms the eighth 
of the collection called the Pattupp&ttu. It has already 
been pointed out that it was sung in order to introduce 
the Aryan King Pirakattan to the beauties of Tamil 
literature. The Kvrifijikkali forms the second section 
of Kalittogai, one of the eight collections (Etfotttogai). 
If the greatness of a poet can be judged by the extent of 
his original writings, surely Kapilar is entitled to the 
foremost place in that category. 


A Contemporary of Kapilar. There are unquestion- 
able pieces of evidence to demonstrate that one of 
the great luminaries that shone in the famous academic 
assembly hall of the Pandyas was the great and 
highly distinguished poet Paranar. That Paranar 
enjoyed that rare place of honour and distinction which 
but a very few enjoyed, is undoubted. Whenever 
Kapilar is mentioned, especially with regard to his 
activities in the Pandyan capital, Paranar is also men- 
tioned. 1 This shows that Paranar occupied a place 

l See supra, p. 53, 


equal to, if not, superior to, that of Kapilar. This also 
bears out the fact that Paranar was a contemporary of 
Kapilar and whichever date scholars deem fit to assign 
to this poet is eqiually applicable to Paranar. 1 That 
Paranar lived with him, moved with him and composed 
some of his writings in his company, no one can 

His Relations unth Pshan. Mention has already 
been made in our sketch on the life of Kapilar of a 
chieftain named Vaiyavikkop-Perum-Pekan, or simply 
Pekan, who treated with contempt his virtuous 
wife Kannaki and bestowed his love on a dancing 
girl. To wean him from this evil conduct the ser- 
vices of Kapilar were requisitioned as was already 
said. 2 Paranar was among the poets who waited in 
deputation on this king. Both these poets are said to 
have addressed him some verses found in the extant 
Purmianum. Of these, the verses 141 and 142 are 
ascribed to Paranar as well as verses 144 and 145. 
These are in the form of advice to Pekan especially 
with regard to his duty towards his devoted wife. 

His reference to Nedwman Anji. From a verse* 
ascribed to Avvaiyar the great poetess of the Tamil land, 
Paranar appears to have spoken very highly of Adigaman 
Neduman Anji, the powerful chieftain of those times. 
It is well known that; Awaiyar spent the best part of her 
life in the Court of this prince and hence what she says 
about him could be utilized even for historical purposes, 
for she certainly speaks with first-hand knowledge. 
Therefore there is reason to think with Mr. Kanakasabai 
that Paranar must have been present when Kovalur, the 

*For a full discussion of the Age of Paranar, see Dr. S, K. Aiyangar, 
Beginnings of S. I. Hi&ory, Ch. v. 
. 55. 

8 jg)rjwi uffmAr u/r/f arar u>pQ*trar Pwram, 99, esp. 1, 12. 

PARAtfAR 61 

capital city of Kari, was attacked and stormed by 
Neduman Aiiji. 1 

The battle between the Cera and ihe Cola described. 
There is besides evidence to indicate that Paranar 
was a wide traveller and especially visited the royal 
Courts of the Cera, Cola, Pandya and the independent 
chieftains of smaller Kingdoms. He seems to have 
witnessed many a battle-field both during the course 
of an action and after it. Once there was a battle 
between Kudakko Neduiiceralatan, the Cera king 
and Verpahratakkaip-Peruvirar killi, the Cola king. To 
this Kalattalaiyar has referred in verse 62 of the 
Puram. In the next verse 2 we find Paranar de- 
scribing the battle-field. The description gives MS 
an idea of the military operations in the Tamil land 
in very early times. It is said that a large number 
of elephants wounded by sharp arrows lay dead or 
disabled. Well-trained horses with soldiers on them 
were found dead in large numbers. Those who fought 
from chariots were killed, and the chariots themselves 

99; see 1 also Aharn, 372; Tamils 1800 Years Ago, p. 108. 
2 er^esruueo uuir^eariLj LotoQu/r 



Qurr *((* 


eu&Q&rr (pQar sped) 

uirfeuer Qpmp pewrLjcarp LUTILJUI 

wear ff(yjf cneuuiSp 

/riA/f @<-*CBStLia] ttt&rp**) 0/K?L.. Purwn. 63; see also 141-2. 


shattered to pieces. The commanders and soldiers were 
all arrayed in military equipment for both offensive and 
defensive purposes. The kings met heroic death with 
their chests pierced by long lances. On all sides were 
found scattered big war-drums. This is a digression 
introduced to show which instruments of war were used 
and how the battle was fought. 

Some princes swiig by him. To pass on to the subject 
proper, from the various verses found in the collection of 
PuroMMfturu, it seems that Paranar had visited a number 
of kings and sung in their praise. To mention a few of 
them would not be out of place here. He has sung in 
praise of Uruvappahrer Ilanjet Cenni, the father of 
Karikarcolan, 1 Nedunceralatan the king of the Ceras 2 
as well as Peruvirarkkilli the Cola to whom we have 
already referred, Perumpekan 3 and Velkelukuttuvan 
(Senguttuvan). 4 Velkelukuttuvan seems to have been 
a great warrior winning laurels wherever he fought. 
Paranar pays a well-deserved tribute to his feats and 
in a particular verse 5 asks for elephants as presents 
from him. Paranar has a wonderful facility of expression 
couched in metaphorical language. He is as much a 
man of the country as of the city. In describing the 
battle-field he compares it to a corn-field. The elephants 
are the sable clouds; the swift- footed horses are the 
winds; the chariots are the ploughing machines; the rain 
drops are the showers of arrows ; the muddy water is the 

1 See also Porunar&rruppvfai of Mu<JaUamakkai?fliyar where the term 
/U U&Qp ififarQuufffar fajpiaicsr occurs. Puram, 4. 
a/te*., 63. 
*lbid., 141-5. 
*Ibid., 343 and 369. 

GtuirQiu. Puram, 369 . f 

RARAtfAR 63 

river of blood and flesh in the field of battle; the weeds 
that are ploughed off are the chopped-off heads of the 
soldiers, etc. The power of thus vividly describing a 
thing with a wealth of detail is one of the characteristics 
of Paranar and this he has exhibited here splendidly. 
The same kind of description is given about Musiri 
(Mouziris of Pliny) the great trading centre belonging to 
Kuttuvan 1 ; , . , ^> 

His reference to Senguttwvan. Again he seems to 
have enjoyed the favour of Seriguttuvan 2 abaut whom 
he is said to have sung the ten stanzas of the Fifth 
Ten in Padirrupflattu, one of the eight collections known 
as the EtpMttog\ai. 3 This is clear from the colophon at 
the end of the Fifth Ten of the above work. 4 Senguttu- 
van seems to have been a great king. He possessed a 
huge army and a naval force. He had extensive 
commerce both by sea and land. Paranar sang these 
verses in his honour and in return got from him as 
present UmbarkattMv&ri (the revenues accruing from a 
particular territory known as umbarkadu, literally, 
elephant forests, included in the Malainadu), as well as his 
son Kuttuvanceran. To hazard a conjecture, the present- 
ing of the royal prince means that the king entrusted his 
son for instruction and education to the poet Paranar 
on whom he seems to have bestowed great confidence and 

, 343. 

2 mL-.eli3pmQmirLL.ty.iu Qaeflo(5tl car 

* Padirruppattu, pp, 60-79 (1920). Dr. S. K. Ayyangar identifies this 
$ehgu\\wvan with that name in the twin epics, Silappadikaram and 
Manimekala (see Beginnings of S. /. History, pp. 213-4). See also C*ran 
Sengutpiwan, pp. 29-30, 


love. Such has been the powerful influence wielded by 
this poet. Botfy the old and the new Tiwvilaiyadals 
make distinct references to him. 1 His works other 
than those found in the P^anmum and the Padirrwp- 
patku are twelve verses in the N&rrinai and fifteen in the 

References to other Kings. Paranar refers to the 
defeat of nine kings by Karikarcolan. 2 Further in the 
Aham (396) the exploits as well as the victory of Sen- 
guttuvan over certain Northern kings are mentioned. 
There is also in it a reference to Tittan the chieftain 
of Uraiyur surrounded by poets' 1 especially on accqunt of 
his liberality and valour. 4 From these it can be safely 
concluded that Paranar must have been a great power in 
the realm of literature in the heyday of the so-called 
third Sangam. 

His Caste and Religion. The materials available are 
too scanty to attempt anything like a history of this poet. 
We are not in a position to 'ascertain the caste or 
community to which he belonged. There is evidence to 
show that he embraced Saivism as his religion. Scholars 
opine, says Pandit Swaminatha Ayyar, that he may be 
identified with Paranadevanayanar, in Sivaperwnan 
Tiruvantati* one of the works included in the eleventh 
Tiruw&rai. From the fact that certain works of Nakki- 
radevar, Kapilardevar, and Paranardevar are included 
in this work in the above order, the surmise ventured 
upon by the learned Mahamahopadhyaya seems almost 
tantamount to a certainty. But this is left for future 
research to determine. 

iCh. 15, st. 4; ch. 59, st. 27. 

*Aham, 125; see Kanakasabai, Tamils 1800 Years Ago, p. 67 (1904). 
*Ibid., 122. 

/Wrf v 6; also 152, 11. 5-7; 226, 11. 14-17. 

*See Intro., p. 11 of Padinwp potto: Swaperum&Q Tiruvantdti, edited 
by Arumuganavalar, Madras (THird edition). 



A Sangam Celebrity. Tamil Nadu was not lack- 
ing in eminent poetesses who were widely celebrated 
for their learning. The country could count with 
pride a number of poetesses who were equal in 
influence and fame to the distinguished poets in this 
part of the Bharatavarsa. Among them Avvaiyar 
was an honoured Sangam celebrity. In our study on 
Kapilar 1 we had occasion to refer to what is now 
current as Kapilar AhcwaL It has been already said 
that there is no foundation whatever to identify the 
work with the great name of the Sangam poet. The 
account given there is that Avvaiyar was a sister of 
Kapilar, Tiruvalluvar, and Adigaman and this does not 
fit in witih the references found in classical Tamil 
literature. As already pointed out Kapilar was a 
Brahman by birth, Valluvar an agriculturist?, and Adiga- 
man, a Malava warrior and hence they belonged to 
separate communities. Lines of demarcation are clear 
among these. That she belonged to the Panar caste and 
was a Virali by profession is clear from the Puram.* 
A Virali is a female singer versed in the art of bringing 
out the underlying emotion and feelings of a song by 
means of appropriate gestures. 8 

Her Early Life. Pandit R. Raghava Ayyangar, some- 
time editor Sen Tamil, (a monthly published in Madura) 
has written a short life of Avvaiyar in Tamil in Vol. II, (6) 
of that Journal. There is also an able and critical 
study of her life by Mr. S. Anavaratavinayagam Pillai. 4 

1 See wpra, p. 54. 
8 Verse 89. 

8 For the meaning of the term viral see A(Jiyarkkunallar's comment 
on the Siloppadik&ram, pp. 106 and 110. 

4 Published by C Coomaraswami Naidu and Sons, Madras (1919). 



At the outset it may be pointed out that there was not 

merely one poetess by the name of Awaiyar but that 

there seem to have been several who bore that honoured 

name. Whatever be the mumber, the fact of the hiatter 

is that there was an Awaiyar, a celebrated Sangam 

poetess living two thousand years ago roughly, who was 

very possibly a contemporary of Kapilar. The term 

Aw0i is a significant term and means on old lady, a 

venerable and aged matron. Tradition says that this 

accomplished poetess led a life of peace and happiness 

living as a spinster throughout her life. At least there is 

no evidence to show that she was ever married. From 

her girlhood she seems to have devoted her full attention 

to deep study and high thinking with its necessary 

accompaniment of plain living according to such 

standards as then obtained. Her writings are varied 

and many, scattered throughout the voluminous 

pages of Narrinai, Kwruntogai, Purananuru and 


With Adigaman Neduman Anji. Avvaiyar seems 
to have spent a good portion of her life in the 
Court of Adigaman Neduman Afiji who was the 
reigning chief 'at Takadur now identified with Dharma- 
puri in the Salem District. Afiji was a great warrior. 1 
He was related to Ceraman, the king of the Ceras. 
He was such a powerful and great chieftain that 
he was able to inflict a crushing defeat on the combined 
forces of seven princes of seven principalities. These 
seven kings were the Cera, Cola, Pandya, Titiyan, 
Erumaiyuran, Irunkovenman, and Porunan. 2 But he was 
defeated in his turn by his relatives and the king Ceraman, 

, 87-9, and 90 (>#fi//r Qu@u>*ar) pp . 166 and 168. 
* See p. 57 Into. Purandn&ru, edited by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 


as will be seen from the colophon at the end of 
Eighth Ten in the Padirmpjwttu* 

With Adigaman Anji. It is seen from the Pwra- 
nanftru that she was greatly attached to and was well 
beloved of Adigaman Afiji in whose praise she has sung 
a number of poems. The king was so much pleased with 
her performances that he once presented her with 
the nelli fruit (emblic myrobalan), a fruit that would 
endow one who took it with long and healthy life. Such 
presents were rare and given only to select persons. 
Awaiyar ate this fruit of rare virtue and became very 
happy. She has given vent to her feelings of extreme hap- 
piness on this. 2 It is also referred to by Parimelalagar 
in his much celebrated commentary on the great work 
of morals. 8 Further her inspiring intelligence and keen 
grasp struck Anji so much that he entrusted her with! 
important missions to alien courts. Once she was sent as 
an ambassador of course in the wide sense of the term , 
to the Court of the Tondaiman, king of Kafici. 4 This, 
the late Kanakasabai thinks 5 , may have been for the 
purpose of soliciting his assistance against his enemies. 


Qsirutirear u&wesr QpeSlu$6Br/Du>&6<tr 

rt Gj.riLQLLirLfl ujifl@&)&Lp(riT 

, 91. 
* See the comment on the Kwra\ ve#bd, 100. 

, 95 colophon jqaj&r jptg)G$ifi QjrrswrL-u>ir &!&>$* Q+eorp 

Tamils 1800 Years Ago, pp. 204-5. 


With Elini. But soon the sun of Adigaman set. After 
his death perhaps as the result of a mortal wound received 
in a battle, referred to by the poetess in Puram 93, 1 
sorrow completely clouded her heart. She bemoaned 
the loss of her warm and generous patron 2 who esteemed 
her at once for her wide scholarship and skill. She left 
the place in great sorrow, wandered far and wide in the 
Tamil Nadu, and finally returned to Takadur where 
Pokuttelini, the son of the late chieftain Afiji, accorded 
her a right royal welcome. As his father was devoted to 
her, so also was Elini because he full well knew her great 
parts. No wonder he respected her accordingly. He 
presented her with new clothes, old liquor, and treated 
her to a sumptuous feast worthy of a great poetess. 8 
In this connection a word may be said about the social 
condition of the age of Avvaiyar. It is obvious that 
kings and princes were addicted to liquor and the same 
was even offered to worthy guests like Avvaiyar. It 
must have been a common practice among only certain 
classes of peoples to drink liquor. 

Other Chiefs md Patrons. From 1 a stanza (367) of 
the Puram and the colophon 4 at the end of it we find that 
she has sung of Ceraman Marivengo, Pandyan Ukkirap- 
periuvaluti, and Colan Perunarkkilli who had evidently 
congregated together on the occasion of the Rdj<asuya 
sacrifice 5 performed by the last of them. Thus though 

, st. 93, 1. 15. 
*Pur<*m, 231-2 and 235. 
*Ibid. f 392. 

4 Q&ffwir&r t&rrifiQaicRirQ&ir&iu), urr&sru^iuear 

9<ar>a/uj/r/r. (P. 482 of the Puram, second ed., 1923.) 
* The ancient Ksatriya kings were expected to perform among others 
the Ahtamtdha and the R&jas&ya sacrifices. Ancient Indian kings had 
been performing them ever since the Vedic times. This practice however 
fell into desuetude with the extinction of the true Katriya caste. The 


she spent many of her days in the Court of Takadfir 
still she frequented the courts of the great Pandya, Cola, 
and Cera kings. It would appear that she was patronized 
by them. 

A Popular Poetess. Avvaiyar thus enjoyed great 
repute in all the Courts of the then kings in the Tamil 
land. Her poems simple but full of lofty maxims and 
practical wisdom caught the popular mind and she be- 
came thus a friend of the masses. And we must care- 
fully make a distinction between this Avvaiyar and the 
other who flourished in the later centuries, as found in 
the Tamil Navalar Cariham. 

The Editor of the Tamil Navalar Caritam on the ac- 
count. The account given in the above book is so con- 
flicting that the Editor in his well-written introduction 1 
points out the different errors in a categorical list. 
First, in these verses there are lots of words beginning 
with the letter 'ca'. But in the Sangam period such 
words were rare. According to the great grammar Tol- 
kappiyam such expressions were prohibited. And the use, 
therefore, is distinctly modern and could not at any rate 
belong to the Sangam period. Secondly, Avvaiyar had 
nothing to do with the marriage of Pari's daughters if the 
account given in Purananurw could be treated as trust- 
worthy. Thirdly, her Vinayaka Puja and her being taken 
to Kailasa by Vinayaka belongs to the realm of mytho- 
logy. Fourthly, the Ceran who went to Kailasa and whom 
Avvaiyar is said to have followed is quite different and this 
statement contradicts the account given in the PeriyaparS- 
nam, roughly eleventh century A.D.* Lastly, in point of style, 

very fact that the Cola King performed this sacrifice shows that he must 
bavq been a powerful king enjoying a great and vast dominion besides im- 
mense wealth. 

*P. 5ff. 

For a critical study of the life and date of Sekkilar, the author of the 
, see Somasundara DS&ikar's Safoa Sikdmanikal Iruvar (1930). 


diction, and metre, most of the verses attributed to 
Awaiyar must have been composed by another of the 
same name about the tenth century A.D. These differ- 
ences are enough to show that the Sangam poetess is 
different from the later Awaiyar about whom the Twmil 
N&nalar Garitwm speaks. 


A Prince Poet. Ilanko-adigal is the celebrated author 
of the Silappadikaraw? belonging to the * category of the 
great Epics (mahakavyas). He was not the ordinary 
bard wandering from Court to Court singing miscellaneous 
verses now in honour of this prince and then in honour 
pf that. 'Ilanko was the son of a king. He was the 
Second son of king Ceralatan reigning in the city of 
Vaiiji (Karuvur), the capital of the then Ceranadu and the 
younger brother of the famous king Ceran Senguttuvan. 
On this account he was called Ilanko or the younger 
prince and he was known as Ilanko-adigal after his 
renunciation of royalty and assumption of holy orders. 

His Conversion. This young prince coming from sudh 
a distinguished family connected with the Colas by 
marriage alliances, gave up the joys of life in the palace 
even when comparatively young and became an ascetic. 
It would be interesting here to narrate why and how he 
turned out to be a monk. This has been excellently answer- 
ed in the text itself. 2 There once came to the Court of 

1 References are to the third edition (1927) . 

ojiraSp uu^QujTtr pu>(tp 

ILAftKO-ADIGAL , , 71 

Ceralatan an astrologer who predicted the immediate 
death of the king and the passing of the throne to Ilanko, 
the younger son. This was uttered in the presence of 
both the royal princes. The elder received the news 
with great disappointment and the younger noticing his 
brother's sorrow wanted to get rid of the stumbling 
block which was himself. Hence he at once took to a 
life of asceticism, renouncing worldly pleasures in order 
to satisfy his brother's hopes and aspirations. Having 
thus assumed th^role of what we would call a Sannyasin, 
Ilanko thought it improper to live in the palace in the 
midst of his kith and kin. So he left the palace and 
took up his residence without the city gates in the temple 
of Gunavayir-Kottam on the eastern side of the Capital, 
devoting his whole life to art and literature. And no 
wonder his secluded life afforded him a good opportunity 
and paved the way for his becoming an accomplished 
scholar as is clearly seen froml this great epic. When 
his scholarship had reached such a high state of perfec- 
tion that he considered himself competent to write out a 
classical work, he took the theme and the plot from real 
life. Unlike other poets of his age who looked for 
patronage to a king, Ilanko confined himself to writing 
an epic. Probably he conceived at first the plan of writ- 
ing two works, the Silappadikaram and the ManimUkalai* 
Learning, however, from his friend and companion 

eSlesruf pffftr&r 



VarantorukOdai, 30, 11. 174-85. 
1 See the Padikam which is! a prefatory poem forming an integral part 
of the work. The attribution of this prefatory part to IJankd himself is 
doubtful. It may be from the pen of Sattanar. At the least it is earlier 
than the commentaries of Atfiyarkkunallar and Arumpadavurai-aSiriyar. 


Kulavanikan^attanar that he had taken up the M&ni- 
mSkatai and even completed it, he gave up his original 
idea. From this it woiuld appear that Ilanko was in 
constant touch with the scholars and writers of the day. 
He advised them and was advised by them in turn. In 
this way it is evident that Ilanko spent (his days in the 

His Religion. It is equally interesting to examine what 
was his religion and the age when he might have proba- 
bly lived. As to his religion there are conflicting opinions. 
Mr. Kanakasabai has written that Ilanko-adigal became 
a monk of the Nigrantha sect. 1 The view that he was a 
Jain and belonged to Jainism is supported by the 
fact that he has elaborately referred to Jainism, its 
tenets and institutes. Further he was called Adigal. 
Again the great commentator Adiyarkkunallar interprets 
Kottam in the line as Awkan-koil which is generally 
the name given to Jain temples. Against this it may be 
argued that the title Adigal is common to all sects of 
the Hindus, and Kottam may mean any temple not 
necessarily the Jain temple. Pandit Swaminatha Ayyar 
favours the view that Saivism was his religion. 2 He 
quotes several texts from the work to show that both 
Senguttuvan and his brother must have been Saivaites 
only. Wherever deities are mentioned, God Siva is 
given the foremost place. 3 Again he says that his brother 

Tamils 1800 Years Ago, p. 208; cf. Educa, Re^4ew t April 1929, 
Prof. Rangacariyar 's article. From a frequent mention of a number of deities 
Hke Durga, Indra, Balarama, Sattan, Murugan, etc., and of a system of image 
worship so commonly mentioned in the work and on the assumption that 
the system of worshipping images in temples was a feature of the post-Gupta 
period, Prof, Rangacariyar concludes that this work was a composition of 
about A.D. 500, sometime before the epoch of the Nayanmars and the 
Alvars, and sometime after the cessation of the third Academy. 

* See? his Intro., p. 17. 
Canto v. 169; Canto adv. L 7. 


Senguttuvan's birth is due to the grace of Siva. 1 These 
besar unmistakable testimony to the fact that their religion 
must have been Saivism. There are again elaborate 
references to legends gathered round Visnu in regard to 
his wuatar and other heroic deeds. The fact that 
Senguttuvan offered worship to both Siva and Visnu 
before his military expedition would bear the weight of 
testimony to conclude that the monarch was not neces- 
sarily ,a Saivaite but a tolerant Hindu. But to conclude 
that he was a Jain from the mere fact that he elabo- 
rately treats of Jainism in his work is unconvincing. It 
may be that the wave of Jainism was spreading wide in 
his time and that a poet who was engaged in narrating 
contemporary facts could not but refer more than ojice 
to one and the same thing. What is remarkable is the 
a/uthor's tolerant attitude to the other sects in the land of 
his birth. 

Date. Much controversy has raged round the ques- 
tion of his date, and much has been written on it, and yet 
no general agreement has been reached. Without enter- 
ing into the details, suffice it to say that from a careful 
study of the names of the kings and also of the names of 
the states mentioned therein, one cannot lend support 
to the opinion that it was the work of the seventh and the 
eighth century A.D. or even later. The following are 
some of the facts which go to assign an earlier date, 2 

There is first the evidence of the Mahawamsa which 
speaks of the King of Ceylon, Gajabahu who is said to 
have been present in the Court of Senguttuvan when he 
established a temple dedicated to Kannaki, the celebrated 
wife of Kovalan. 8 

1 XXVI, 11. 98-9; XXX, 11. 141-2. 

8 See the learned discussion on the subject by Prof. V. RangacSriyar 
in the Educa. Review (February 1929) . 

* SilappadikOram, Varartarukadai, XXX, 1. 160, ML-&& y 
a//^pu>. S. K. Ayyangar, Ancient India, pp. 363-5. 


No doubt the Boiddhist books mention two Gajabahus 
and one of them may be taken to have lived roughly 
in the first quarter of the second century A.D. somewhere 
about A.D. 113. The other Gajabahu belongs to a very 
late century, the twelfth century, and it would be nothing 
short of absurdity to take the composition of the work 
to such a late period. At least neither historical data 
nor religious nor even literary data would warrant such 
an assumption. A question has been raised: Could 
there not have been a Gajabahu later than the one of the 
early second century who might have lived, say, in the 
fifth century or the sixth? Professor Rangacariyar opines 1 
that this is probable and draws attention to the minor 
Ceylon chronicles, the Rajawali and Rajamtnakari which 
refer to a Gahaba whose successful expedition to the 
Tamil land is mentioned, with the assumption that 
Gahaba is a corruption of Gajabahu. It seems to me 
that there is not much force in this argument because the 
chronicler of the Makavamsa unmistakably refers to the 
term Gajabahu which is certainly different from Gahaba 
a quite different name. 2 

Secondly, Senguttuvan is mentioned as the ally of 
Nurruvar Kannar identified with the Satakarnis 3 of the 
Dekhan. The arguments of Mr. K. V. Subrahmania Ayyar 
against this identification are not convincing.* K. G. esa 
Ayyar, on the other hand, identifies 5 this Nurruvarkannar 
with Yajnasri and holds that the poem was probably 
written about A.D. 171. 

Thirdly, Sattanar is a Sangam celebrity. Tradition 
narrates his friendship with Ilanko and his being the 

*&duca. Review, February, 1929. 

C/. K. G. SaAkara's article in the Journal of the Mythic Society, 
October, 1920. 

3 See Kanakasabai, Tamils 1800 Yuars Ago* 

* See Historical Sketches of Ancient Dekhan, p. 97. 

Christian College Magazine, September-October, 1917. 


inspirer of the Silappadikaram. There is no warrant 
for the assumption that Sattanar, the author of the Jlfiam- 
mekalai* is a different person from the Sangam poet 
bearing the same name. Hence both Sattanar and 
Ilanko were contemporaries of Senguttuvan. Senguttu- 
van figiures prominently in the Sangam works. The refer- 
ence in the Padirruppattu has already been mentioned. 1 
So also the reference in the Aham. Therefore it stands 
to reason that Seriguttuvan flourished in the heyday of 
the so-called third Academy. If we are to believe the 
authorship attributed to the twin works Manimekalai 
and $ila>p~p<adikamm, there is every justification to 
classify these works under the Sangam category. This 
tradition of contemporaneity with the Sangam period, it 
may be noted in passing, is accepted by later com- 

Against this early date, astronomical data were 
pressed into service and a tentative date in the seventh or 
eighth century was arrived at. The late Swamikannu 
Pillai relying chiefly on the evidence of the commen- 
tary of Adiyarkkunallar on a passage, 2 arrived at this 
date. 8 But this is questionable data in the light of other 
facts. For, first, the original on which the com- 
mentator bases his elaborate astronomical knowledge 
contains not the slightest reference even to concede the 
possibility of the view. Secondly, the calculation of 
figures, naksatra, etc., as given by the commentator is 

1 See supra, p. 29. 

2 euf 

X, 11. 1-3, siee also the appendix to ch. vii of S. K. 
Ayyangar's Beginnings 0f Sovfh Indian History k pp. 331-41. 

* Contra, K. G. Sea Ayyar: The date of Silapfiodik&ram, Madras 
Christian College Magazine, September-October (1917). Mr. e"$a Ayyar 
proves Swamikaflflu's arguments to be unsound. 


faulty. Thirdly, the evidence of the commentary 
would enable us to fix Monday, the 17th May, A.D. 756 as 
the date, and this is not at all likely, considered from any 
point of view whatsoever. Fourthly, there is the mention 
of the week-day in the work. The destruction of 
Madura by the curse of Kannaki was on Friday. 1 The 
assumption is that the week-day names are used earliest 
in India in Budhagupta's inscription of A.D. 484. 2 It 
is difficult to say when the week-day as an item in the 
Tamil calendar made its appearance though the fifth' 
century A.D. is generally assigned to this. If this date 
were to be accepted, the mention of the week-day in the 
Silappadikaram mtust be a later interpolation. Lastly, 
the astronomical data of the poem do not seem to be 
capable of being adduced as a serious argument to 
propound an important theory. 

Literary Data. Equally weak is the evidence afford- 
ed by the literary data in the Silappiadikaram. The author 
seems to be familiar with Sanskrit works like the 
Bharata Ndtya Sastra, the Pancatantra and with the 
work Kar&vata of Muladeva on the science of theft. 
The date of these works is still a bone of contention 
among scholars. From one unknown to another un- 
known will be no serious argument. The use of a large 
number of Sanskrit words cannot be the last word on the 
subject as a good number of siuch words occur in the 
stanzas of the Puvwm and the Aham, the accredited 
works of the Sangam. 

Qiirffp QprTGfiQetrrfl 


Katturai-K&dal, XXIII, 11. 133-7. 
Se K. G. Sankara's artidc Studies in Indian, History, QJM.S. 
October, 192% esp. p. 72. 


From these facts it is reasonable to assume that these 
two epics might possibly belong to the epoch of the 

The Story as contained in the Epic : The Legends. 
The story contained in the epic 1 is simple and 
is as follows. In Kavirippumpattinam, the capital 
of the Colas, there lived a wealthy merchant named 
Masattuvan. He had a son Kovalan to whom was 
married a virtuous and devoted lady Kannaki by name, 
the daughter of Manaikan. 2 Being a wealthy young 
man Kovalan moved in high social circles and took 
an active interest in the amusements of the day. 
Once his eyes fell on a beautiful young dancing girl 
Madavi by name, on whom he directed his love. He 
wasted all his wealth and money on this dancing girl 
and did not care for his devoted wife. When at last he 
had lost all his riches, he thought that Madavi's love 
towards him had cooled and he became disgusted. 
Returning home he realized his past mistakes and 
resolved on a commercial career. The same night he 
left for Madura with his wife Kannaki. He had nothing 
to fall back upon except her jewels. She placed one of 
Tier costly jewels (Silambu-znklet) ungrudgingly and 
willingly at his disposal. He took it to the market there 
to effect a sale. As misfortune would have it, he was 

a The book is divided into three sections (Kai?(}ams) th 
of 10 chapters (Kadai, Sans. Gatha) the Maduraikk& ' 
and the Vanjikkan$(wn of 7 chapters. It may b 
Madurai, and Vanji were three royal capitals at t 

2 The two terms M&naikan and Masattuvan, 
proper names, are of great significance. They 
^class of the city which engaged its time and ene 
ventures became known as Manaikan and that 
which was busy in active trade by land by mea 
This is seen from the canto ii, 11. 7-8. 


arrested as a thief of the royal) jewels. The king- 
without inquiring into the facts of the case impa- 
tiently ordered his execution. It was done. Poor 
Kannaki, when she came to know of this, became 
bewildered as it were. She went before the king and 
proved his innocence beyond the shadow of a doubt. 
The Pandyan King Nedunjeliyan realized his guilt and 
could not bear it. He fell down from his seat broken- 
hearted and died immediately. Still Kannaki could not 
control herself and in a fit of great anger qursed that the 
whole city be consumed by flames. And so it happened. 
Kannaki then proceeded westward to the Malainadu and 
continued to do penance at the foot of a Vefigm tree in 
tJhe Neduvelkunram, a hill near Kodungolur (Cranganore) 
according to Adiyarkkunallar. 

A Source of Information. Barring the legendary 
portions the twin epics, the Silappadikaram and the 
Manimehafiw, which can be likened in certain respects 
to the Mwhabharata and the Ramayana are the unfailing 
sources of information for writing out the history of 
the ancient Tamil land. The first is a contribution by 
a royal author and may be relied upon for details as 
regards the life in courts, and the accounts of the 
kings given. It is indeed a valuable mine of informa- 
tion for re-writing the history of the early Pandya, Cola, 
and Cera Kings. It shows the relation of the states 
with one another, not excluding North Indian states 
like Avanti and Magadha. It gives us a true picture 
of the social and religious life led by the people 
of those days. The various fine arts, such as music 
and dancing flourished on an extensive scale as litera- 
ture itself did. It gives us also types of good and 
bad womanhood and the ruin of the innocent by the 
seduction of the latter. It shows how justice was ren- 


dered, besides other details of administrative interest. 
These and several other things found mentioned are 
indeed valuable as throwing sufficient light on the history 
of the Tamils in the early centuries of the Christian era. 


The name Sittalai Satt<mdr. One of the great epic 
writers belonging to the age of the so-called Third San- 
gam was Sattanar. He was known also as Kulavanikan 
Sattanar and Sittalai Sattanar in literature. Why he 
was called Kulavanikan may be due to the fact that he 
was himself a dealer in corn or that he was the son of 
a corn merchant in Madura. He was also known as 
Sittalai Sattanar . It must be remembered that it was 
a custom in that golden age of Tamil literature that 
every work should before its publication receive the seal 
of approval of the Sangam members among whom 
Sattanar was a shining light. It is natural that some of 
these works contained errors in language besides mis- 
taken ideas. Whenever such glaring defects met his 
eyes, it is said that he would resent it rather than find 
fault with the poor writer. But the mode of resenting 
seems to be peculiar and unbelievable. He used to 
strike himself on his head so often that it became full of 
sores and hence this epithet to his name. Whatever 
his hereditary profession and whatever his peculiar 
characteristics, it is (undoubted that he was a 'master of 
logical subtleties and metaphysical cobwebs' as the late 
Mr. Kanakasabai has rightly remarked. 1 As regards 
Sittalai again, Pandit Swaminatha Ayyar has indicated 
an unmistakable reference of Maruttuvan Damodaranar 
in his appreciation of the Tirukkwral* 

* Tamils 1800 Years Ago, p. 207. 

St. 11 in the 


* , 

The great physician Damodaranar says as the 
smelling of a mixture of the juice of clndU? dried 
^N&*X, ^V^\VQVV^J >NOM\d \nxt an end to the crucial pain 
in t!he head, so the wwppal, constvtu\\ng T3\&ra&, Rttaa, 
and Kama of Valluvar put an end to the prolonged suffer- 
ing from which Sattanar ailed. There is here warrant for 
the assumption that bad and faulty compositions always 
caused unbearable headache to the poet. That head- 
ache ceased with the composition of the Rural Again 
Sittalai like the modern Kulittalai may be the name of 
the village of Sattanar, and only later ingenuity invented 
some plausible interpretation for the term. 2 

His Writings. Leaving aside this question, it is 
abundantly clear that he was a native of Madura, and a 
corn dealer by profession before he made his mark in the 
distinguished Academy of the ancient Tamils. It is also 
clear that he won a position and rank equal to that of a 
poet-prince like Ilanko-adigal. Sattanar figures in the 
pages of the Silappadikaram in more than one place and 
Ilariko always refers to him in terms of reverence and 
esteem. 8 And no doubt such an author must have been a 
powerful personality and wielded extraordinary influence . 
As a poet he seems to have been an accomplished writer. 
Simplicity of diction, easy flow of words, and a clear and 
perspicuous style, fecundity of thought, fineness of 
imagery, and richness of imagination, are the chief 
characteristics of his writings. Besides the classical 
work Manimekalai, his contributions are to be found in 
the N^rrinai and other works comprised in the well- 
known collection of 


2 Pa9<Jit P. Naraya$aswami Ayyar identifies this Sittalai with Sittali 
in the Perambalfir Taluk, Trichy District. Narrow*, p. 38. 

3 j0rL.<^ pirerrear Canto xxv, 1. 66, see also 1. 10 of the Padikam. 



A source of information. Since the discovery and 
publication of the Manimehalai by the Mahamaho- 
padhyaya, scholars have been at work on the subject. 
OT, a^art itom its great literary value to students of 
Tamil literature, it is an mvaluaXAe source oi mioYtrta- 
tion 1 to the historical student as it contains a wealth of 
details regarding the political, social and religious con- 
ditions and institutions prevalent about the beginning 
of the Christian era, when it is generally accepted this 
work was composed. That a mass of useful material 
lies buried in its pages is accepted even by acute 

The story a continuation of that in the $il\appadika- 
ram. it would not be out of place here to give the 
story in broad outlines. The scheme as well as the 
plan are simple. These demonstrate fjully that it is 
an offshoot or rather a continuation of the theme of 
the Silappadikaram. Like the latter it also contains 
thirty Gathas or cantos. But while the story of 
the SHappadikdram is of such varied interest and is 
presented vividly like a dramatic representation, the 
story of the Manimgfoalai is narrowed down to the 
aimless adventures of a Buddhist Bhiksuni, sectarian in 

The Legend. The story is as follows : When Madavi 
the dancing girl, on whom Kovalan (had bestowed his 
love, heard of her lover's execution in Madura, she became 
disgusted with the world and joined the Buddhist sect of 
monks and nuns to spend the evening of her life in prayer 
and meditation. It would appear that Madavi had a 
daughter named Manimekalai by Kovalan. This girl 
also had joined the nunnery under the influence of her 

notable contribution on the subject is Dr. S. K. Ayyangar*s 
i, in its Historical Setting (Luzac & Co., 1927). 



mother assuming the role of a Buddhist nun. She used 
to go to the flower gardens to cull flowers therefrom. 
On one occasion it so chanced that the prince of the 
reigning king named Udayakumaran saw her and became 
enamoured of her beauty. Struck by the shafts of 
Cupid, the prince pursued her, but in vain. She then 
went to Manipallavadvipa where were enshrined the feet 
of tihe Buddha. Here she was told that the prince was 
her husband in a previous birth. Through the grace of 
the deity she got possession of a begging bowl which 
would be ever full and never empty. 

She then returned to Kavirippumpattinam and became 
fully engrossed in doing selfless social service. She 
supplied the thirsty and the hungry with drink and 
food assuming the disguise of one Kayasandikai. But 
Udayakumaran, who was always on the look-out for 
her, came to know of this her new disguise, and was 
waiting for an opportunity to win her. One day the 
real Kayasandikai herself was seen in the garden 
and the prince ran after her. This was noticed by 
her husband, who in a fit of jealous fury murdered 
the prince. When Manimekalai heard of this, she did 
not know what to do. She was really responsible 
for this mishap and she was conscious of her guilt. 
The king had her arrested and imprisoned but at the re- 
quest of the queen, she was soon released. She then 
wandered throughout the land visiting several holy 
places. At last she settled at Kanci performing penance 
and meditating on the righteous laws promulgated by the 
great preacher and teacher, the Buddha. The last years 
of her life were spent in that city. 

Date. The fact that the story is a continuation of that 
in the SilappadikSnmt and the tradition that the authors 
of the twin epics were contemporaries lead us on 


to assign to it the same epoch determined for the 
padikaram, namely, the second century A.D. 1 Among 
other arguments for the later date, two may be mentioned 
here. One is the occurrence of the term Kuccarak- 
kutikai. 2 The Mahamahopadhyaya interprets it as a small 
temple built in Gurjara style of architecture. On this a 
theory is built. The Gurjaras seem to have entered 
India after A.D. 450 and hence the second century 
assigned becomes valueless. 3 But it is argued that 
the Gurjaras belonged to the stock of the Sakas who 
settled in India before the break-up of the Mauryan 
empire. 4 What is more plausible is that the expression 
has nothing to do with the Gurjaras but means a rock- 
cut shrine. 5 

The other argument is the fact of Manimekalai going 
to the island of Savakam, identified with Sumatra 
and her interviews with the king of the land 
Punnya Raja and a preacher of the law (Dharma 
Savaka). 6 Fa Hien (399-414) A.D/ seems to have 
found not very much of Buddhism in the island, but 
I-tsing 671-95 A.D.* notices the wide prevalence of the 
Buddhist religion. From this it is argued that as the 
reference in the Manimekalai shows advanced Buddhism 
in Sumatra, it is reasonable to place the work after the 
fourth century A.D. 9 Against this view it is ad- 
vanced that though there was no dominance of Bud- 

1 Contra, Jour of Or. Research, Vol. ii, pts. iii-iv the article on the Age 
of ManimSkalai, wherein it is argued that it cannot be earlier than the sixth 
century A.D., pp. 220-22. 

* <5/T*^?D* (canto xviii, 11. 145 and 152). 
Macdonell J.R.A.S. (1919), p. 531. 

*K. G. Sesa Ayyar Q./.M.S., vol, x, p. 186. 

5 Contra, M. S. Ramaswami Ayyangar, Studies m South Indian 
Jainism, pp. 146-7. 

6 Cantos 24 and 25. 

* A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms by James Legge, Oxford 1886, p* 113. 
*A Record of Bud. Religion Tr. by J. Takakusu Intro, pp. xl-xli 

* Contra M. S. R. Ayyangar, Studies m S. /. Jainism, pp. MM1. 


dhism when Fa Hien visited the island, it cannot be 
denied that there was Buddhism. For the earlier 
form of Buddhism, it may be noted, was not very 
different from the Brahmanical religion, and hence an 
early foreign traveller of the type of Fa Hien could not 
differentiate the one from the other. 

Buddhist Philosophy. Apart from the story the 
chief importance of. the book lies in its elaborate 
exposition of the philosophical doctrines of the Bud- 
dhist religion. 1 It is in this connection that the poem 
is invaluable. It proves the fact of the development 
of the Buddhist religion and its great power and 
influence during that period. The various tenets, 
sects, and principles thereof, as well as the chief 
places where the religion struck firm roots, and other 
such valuable items of information are extensively given 
especially in the latter portion of the work. The six systems 
of philosophy as found here are the Sankhya, Nyaya, Vai- 
sesika, Mimamsa, Lokayata, and Bauddha. 2 From 
such an elaborate, critical, and clear study of the Bud- 
dhist religion and philosophy it is natural to conclude that 
the great and celebrated author must have himself em- 
braced the tenets of Buddhist doctrine. This means in 
other words that Sattanar was a Buddhist by conviction. 
Otherwise he would not have given us such an exhaus- 
tive and appreciative study of the great religion. The 

1 A comparative study of the principles of the Buddhist logic in the Afom- 
mSkalai has convinced the learned Mahamahopadhyaya S. Kuppuswami 
SSstri that they are based on acarya Dinnaga's Nyayaprcrutsa and on his 
other works. He would therefore assign the Manimekalai to a period be- 
tween Dinnaga and Dharmakirti Jour, of Or. Research, vol. i, pp. 191-201. 
See the introduction of Dr. S. K. Ayyangar to his work M^animSkalai, In its 
Historical Setting. 

There is another classification of six systems, Purva Mimamsa, Uttara 
Mimtosa (Vedanta), Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vai&sika. The latter 
account does not include the Lokayata and the Bauddha systems. 


book extols the lofty maxims and principles that are the 
guiding factors of that religion. From this work we 
cannot but regard Sattanar as a poet theologian of the 
first order. 

As a Courtier. At this time the Cera king was Sen- 
guttuvan, a great patron of arts and letters, reigning in his 
great capital Karuvur. It would appear that Sattanar once 
visited his royal Court and was even a venerable courtier 
of the great Senguttuvan for a pretty long time. It was he 
who first gave the full details of the story of Kovalan and 
Kannaki to the King and his brother the poet Ilanko- 
adigal, 1 laying special emphasis on her greatness and on 
her chastity that was the invaluable ornament adorning 
both her physical and mental body. Moved by this soul- 
stirring account, Senguttuvan expressed a wish to perpe- 
tuate the glorious memory of that great lady and heroine. 
On the Queen's advice the erection of a temple and the 
installation of Kannaki therein as the deity was decided 
upon as the most fitting memorial and monument. 2 To 
this proposal the king readily gave his assent and soon 
the temple was built and was provided with all the 
necessary equipments. Ilariko thought fit to perpetuate 
her memory by means of a more imperishable memento 
and wrote the undying Silapfiadikaram. Thus it is evi- 
dent that Sattanar was a contemporary of Senguttuvan 
and his brother Ilanko-Adigal . 

1 See the Podikam, pp. 1-10 attached to the extant McknimSkalai, second 
*d., 1921. 

Canto xxv, 11. 114-5. 




WE are in an age of growing materialism. The 
advancement of science with its rapid strides increases 
our sense pleasures and sense enjoyments, nay, creates 
a thirst for them even in the minds of the man in the . 
street. Life is to many thinking students a riddle and a 
mystery. Life after death is still more a mystery. The 
quest after the highest reality which is the ultimate 
reality, and the effort to gain an experience of that reality 
is easily consigned to the realm of oblivion. This is 
philosophy and religion to which attention could be given 
only without prejudice to our mundane comforts. But 
it must not be confounded with philosophy. Philo- 
sophical speculation is the result of deep thinking which 
finds no place in mysticism. Mysticism is the result of 
a vast experience. 1 From this life of struggle and never- 
satisfied wants it is a relief to turn to the pages of our 
ancient literature, whether it be the classical Sanskrit or 
the vernaculars, and find how our ancients realized the 
philosophical quest after truth as far more important, and 
preferred it, as is illustrated by the story of Naciketas, in 
the Upanisads, to a life of illusory and fleeting enjoy- 

In this line of development though India can claim 
more honours, yet she is not an exception. Parallel 
developments of mystic views and beliefs in the history 
of other countries of the world there have been, since the 
dawn of history. Nay every religion recognizes in 

See Preface, Mysticism in Bhagavad Gift* by Mahendranatk Sircar 
(Longmans 1929) . 


mysticism an elevating and awe-inspiring principle which 
would tackle problems of life more effectually and truly, 
than logical argumentations and scientific reasonings. 
But it is not all the same blind faith born of credulous 
belief. Just as India can speak of her own mystics, we 
have Islamic mystics and Christian mystics. 1 Every- 
where there is a variety of types, each bkakfia pursuing 
his individualistic method of attaining ecstatic communion 
with God. 

Taking India, for example, every school of philosophy 
developed a type of mystic beliefs and views, so that we 
can speak of sacrificial mysticism, mysticism of the 
Upanisads, Yoga mysticism, Buddhistic mysticism, and 
devotional mysticism. 2 

With this preliminary explanation we may now 
proceed to examine the mystic views of some of the 
South Indian Tamil saints and bkaktas. At the outset 
it may be remarked that their mysticism can broadly be 
designated as devotional mysticism. In the story of the 
development of the mystic principle, the devotional type 
which is undoubtedly the latest one, seems to have been the 
special type we come across in the Tamil sages and saints. 

Mysticism, then, is a state of religious feeling marked 
by supreme effort or efforts to attain direct communion 
with God. It is also the understanding of things divine 
by an unceasing process of deep spiritual insight and 
ripe spiritual experience. According to Goethe, 'it is 
the scholastic of die heart, the dialectic of the feelings'. 
And mystic poetry is that kind of literature which 
contains * a sacred and also a secret meaning incompre- 
hensible to the ordinary reader but well cognizable by 

*5ee W.R, Inge, Christian Mysticism. 

* Itt this classification I have followed Das Gupta's learned work, Hindu 
Mysticism* London, * 


the spiritually-minded persons. This may be material, 
namely, the matter it treats of is mystic, but the language 
may be clear, perspicuous and quite distinct. That 
means that it involves an altogether different meaning 
and significance realizable only by master minds. Or it 
may be formal. This kind deals not with the matter 
but with the manner. That is, the subject-matter is 
quite comprehensible but is couched in mystical language. 
Mystical also means 'allegorical' ; but all allegory is 
not mystic. For there are allegories from which mystic 
interpretations are conspicuously absent. To this last 
category belong the works generally of all the eighteen 


Judged by the above standards, Tamil literature 
contains yet unfathomable treasures of such wisdom and 
knowledge, born of great experience which are the melodi- 
ous outbursts of highly spiritual souls in moments of su- 
preme rapture. To this class belong, among others of which 
we shall speak in the sequel, the works of the four great 
teachers and preachers who go by the name of Saiva 
Samayacaryas Tirujfiana Sambandar, Apparsvamigal, 
Sundaramurtinayanar and Manikkavasakar. The first 
three are the renowned authors of the collection of 
devotional songs and lyrics known as the Tevaram. 
These four great acaryas had full conviction and faith in 
their own religion. They began a preaching crusade 
.against the disintegrating influence and the destructionist 
spirit of the rival religious sects. The Samcmas or the 
Jains and the followers of the Buddha were the chief 
objects of their attack. They denounced their doctrines, 
and condemned their preachings in public. It was they 
who firmly planted the banner of their faith in Tamil land, 
if not, in the whole of South India. 



We will now deal briefly about these mystic writers 
the great authors of the Tev&nam. The Tevaram is 
generally recognized as a text on mysticism though it 
occasionally lapses into newer elements and tendencies 
which cannot be characterized as mystical either 
in spirit or matter. Here a serious student comes 
across allegories of a higher order, viz., allegories 
which are mystical in character and extent. Tirujnana 
Sambandar entitled Dravida Sisu by Sankaracarya 
occupies a prominent place among the distinguished 
Saiva Samayacaryas. 

The Legend. The town of Siyali in Tanjore District 
is recorded by tradition as a Naalh's Ark. When the 
whole world was submerged under a great deluge, this 
was the only spot which was not affected by the waters 
of the flood. Hence its well-known name Tonipuram 
(literally Boat city) . Besides, other names are given 
to the same city. In this ancient town of Siyali was born 
Tirujnana Sambandar. He was a Brahman by caste. When 
he was three years old, his father took him to the temple- 
tank, placed him on the bank and went for a bath. 
Perhaps feeling lonely the child cried 'mama', 'papa', 
when Lord Siva and His Consort appeared before him 
and consoled him, Parvati giving him milk of wisdom. 
When his parent saw him thus drinking milk out of a 
golden bowl and questioned the child as to who gave it to 
him, the boy pointed to the distant temple, and sang 
in praise of the Lord. 

Thenceforward he became a great and devout bhakt. 
It was the desire of the youngster to visit places sacred 
to the Lord Siva. His father yielded to his wishes and 
took him from one place to the other always carrying him 
on his shoulder. As befits a dvija, his upanayanam 



ceremony was performed. He then visited many a place 
of pilgrimage and established his reputation by miracles. 
In the course of his religious tour, he met Appar at 
Tiruvilimilalai near Mayavaram and helped to relieve 
the famine-stricken people there. Both Svamijis then 
proceeded to Vedaranyam where an invitation came to 
them from the Pandyan Queen and Minister to visit 
their capital Madura, especially as the king was under 
the influence of the Samanas. Leaving Appar at Veda- 
ranyam, Sambandar repaired to Madura. With the conni- 
vance of the King, the Samanas set fire to the residence 
of Sambandar with no effect. When this was brought 
to the notice of the Svamiji, he cursed the Pandyan king 
to be attacked with burning fever. The Samanas tried all 
their resources to effect a cure, but with no success. 
At last the king prayed to Sambandar to relieve him of 
his fell disease, which he immediately did. Then an 
assembly of both Saiuas and Samanas was convened to 
establish the superiority of either sect. After a 
number of tests in which the Samanas had an inglorious 
defeat, Saivism was accepted as the true religion 
by the king. After this, Sambandar set out on 
pilgrimage and visited many places preaching and 
singing and working miracles until he came back 
to his native home. There he responded to the 
wishes of his father and consented to get himself 
married in the old Vedic style. But at the very early 
age of sixteen the revered Svamiji became one with 
the Holy of Holies. This acarya is generally taken 
to have flourished in the first half of the seventh century. 
To the same period belongs Appar Svamigal who was a 
contemporary of Sambandar. While the latter's collec- 
tion of hymns forms the first three Holy books (Tiru- 
murai), Appar's are the next three Holy books 


of the T&v&rwm* The compiler of the Tgv&r&m is 
Nambi Andar Nambi. 8 

His Mysticism. Sambandar praises the little town 
of Tonipuram by twelve different name^. For every name 
he sings one stanza, each one of these stanzas consisting 
of the same lines repeated four times. The ordinary 
reader who sees only the surface is apt to think that this 
repetition is but for the sake of greater emphasis and 
nothing more. But it should be understood that the 
whole thing is pitched in a high key and the repetition 
has a mystic force and hidden meaning and produces a 
wonderfully powerful effect. 8 

The four lines of each stanza which admit of different 
interpretations wooild not produce the intended effect,* 
namely, to bring out the full force and significance, if 
rendered in any other medium than the ancient Tamil 
language, and hence would not be of much interest to the 
common reader. Under these circumstances we refrain 
from any elaborate exposition of these stanzas. But it 
may be noted here that the language is mystic or as 

1 For fuller details, see Periya Puranam of Sekkijar, 
bandamurti N&ycmdr Pur&nam. 

2 For a critical study of Nambi Ancjar Nambi, <see Sdmasundara 
Deikar's Saiva&kamanikal Irwvar (1930). 

3 L$fft6 \-\Bp glG&p QuLDWIT 

iSffiD Ljfffgienp QUUHDIT 

L$ffU> LjffJSgiGtop QULDl 

Tirumurai I. Padikam 127, p. 266. 

Ibid., p. 267. 

The Ttv&ram, ed. by K. Sada&va Chettiar and published by the S. I. 
Saiva Siddhaata Works Publishing Society, Madras, 1927. 


stated at the outset, mysticism here is of the forma! 

Date of Sambwvdar. Af ter ably refuting the hypo- 
thesis of Dr. Catdwell 1 and of Nelson 2 as to the age of 
Sambandar, the late P. Sundaram Pillai proves that the 
saint must have lived before the celebrated Sankaracarya 
and concludes that Sambandar could not have lived in 
any period later than the early years of the seventh 
century after Christ. 8 That Sambandar is a contem- 
porary of Appar and Siruttondar, otherwise known 
as Parafijotiyar, is evident from the legend in the 
Periyapuranam. We know Parafijotiyar was the Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Pallava King Narasimha Varman I 
who distinguished himself against the Chalukyas. 4 
According to inscriptional evidence, Narasimhavarman I 
succeeded Mahendravarman I in A.D. 630 and con- 
tinued his rule to A.D. 660. 5 Thus the age of Sambandar 
must be looked for sometime in the middle of the 
seventh century A.D. 


The Legend. Contemporary with Sambandar, and 
Velala by caste, Appar was born in the village of 
Tiruvamur near Panrutti Railway Station. He had 
a sister by name Tilakavati. When young it was resolv- 
ed to get her married to the commander of the chieftain 

1 Comparative Dravidian Grammar* Intro., pp. 137-43. 

* District Manual, pt. iii, pp. 54-70. 

* See his article * Some Milestones in the History of Tamil Literature* 
or 'The Age of Tirugfianasambandar/ Tamilian Ant. Society Series No. 3. 

*See SifHttonfar Puranam (Periyapuranam), esp. st. 6. 

A 2nd., vol. vi, p. 11; S. /.,/., vol. i, p. 152, See also R, Gopalan's 
PaUavaf of Kanchi, p. 97 and f ; K. A. Nijakanta SastriThe Panjyan 
Kingdom, pp. 53-4. 

Contra K. S. Ramaswami Sastri ,$0*1*1 Sotnayacaryas, p. 59: 
Mr. -Sistriar assigns middle of the sixth century A.D. Cf. K. R. 
Subrahmanian, Origin of Saivism, pp. 64-8. 


Pallavaraya. Unfortunately before marriage the valiant 
commander died heroically in the field of action. The 
parents of Tilakavati also had in the meantime died and 
Tilakavati resolved to lead a life of ceUbacy and be of 
help to her brother, the future Appar Svamiji. Mean- 
while Appar got into contact with the Sanumas of the 
place and became a convert to their faith. This pained 
his sister very much. She prayed night and day to 
Lord Siva that her brother might be broiught back from 
the Samana fold. The prayer was heard and the Lord 
struck Appar with a fell disease which was found incura- 
ble by the Samanas. who left him helpless. Then he 
thought of his sister and betook himself to his resi- 
dence. She prayed to the Lord to relieve him of his 
pain. Soon he was himself. Unshakable faith in 
Saivism re-dawned in his mind. This greatly put out 
the Samanas, who reported to their king at Patalipuram 
how Appar had cheated them and left their camp un- 
knowingly. The king sent for him and subjected him 
to all sorts of cruel tortures, feeding him with poison, 
slaking him in a lime kiln, placing him before a mad! 
elephant, and throwing him into the sea. But out of all 
of these he emerged unscathed. The king became 
surprised and found out the truth of the Saiva faith. 
He himself became a convert. Appar carried the 
message of his faith throughout the Tamil Nadu, cultivat- 
ed Sambandar's acquaintance, and carried on the propa- 
gandist work sometimes in collaboration with him and 
sometimes single-handed. Thus he visited manyj>laces 
of pilgrimage, built several outhouses, mathas, then and 
there, and at last attained his salvation in the village of 
Pflmpukalur about four miles to the east of Nannilam 
Railway Station. 1 

, 1 See TirunBvukkuarafan&yaii&r Pur&yam (Periya-Pwanam) . * ~ 


The Miracle of reviving to life Appudiyadikal's dead 
son. Appar was so widey known and so much revered 
that a certain Brahman Appudiyadikal by name, in the 
village of Tingalur in Tanjore District, who had never 
seen him nor known him personally, namjed his sons, 
daughters, servants, and even the animals which he 
reared, after this well-known saint Tirunavukkarasu, 
which literally means 'supreme in speech'. 

It happened that Apparsvami came to Tingalfir in 
the course of his religious tour. He inquired where he 
could get hospitality. This Brahman's name was 
mentioned and he went to his house. As he was clothed 
in the garb of a Sannyasin and as it is one of the duties 
enjoined on the Hindu householders to entertain such 
ascetics in a spirit of utmost reverence and worship, 
Appudi welcomed with great pleasure the Svami who, 
it must be noted, was not a Brahman. All his sons, 
daughters, servants and even the domestic animals were 
introduced to him one by one as Tirunavukkarasu Nos. I, 
II and III and so on. The Svami was so struck at this 
that he asked the Brahman why he had named them 
thus. He answered that it was out of love and reverence 
to the great Appar Samayacarya who had done and 
suffered so much for Saivism little knowing that the 
Sannyasin standing before him was no other than the 
revered Svamiji himself. When the latter mentioned 
that he was the personage whom he had thus revered 
and loved, his eyes were filled with rapturous and joyous 
tears, for he could not contain himself. A dinner in his 
honour was soon arranged. 

Meanwhile his eldest son who had gone to fetch some 
plantain leaves from the backyard was bitten by a bigf 
cobra and died of blood-poison instantaneously. Having^ 
kept the dead body hidden in a corner, the Brahman did 


not inform the Svami of this lest he should decline to 
dine on account of the pollution in the house. All the 
arrangements over, leaves were spread and the Svami 
was served. The Svami expressed a wish that all his 
children should dine with him. All the Tirunavukkara- 
sus excepting No. 1 came. The Svami missing the 
eldest enquired after him. The man could no more hide . 
He dared not speak an untruth before the great saint. 
So he gave out what had happened. The body was 
brought at his command before him and the Svami burst 
into melodious prayers to the Lord Siva in ten successive 
verses, the first giving the one element of His body lirnbs 
and ornaments, the second the two of His, the third the 
three of His and so on, until the tenth describing the 
ten elements. To the inexplicable wonderment of the 
poor Brahman and his family, the boy showed signs of 
life returning to him. He soon opened his eyes, sat up 
and was quite alive. This incident is found in the 
Tevaram in the Vi&wihtlrta Padikam. 1 

Mystic Interpretation. The mystical interpretation 
that is usually given is that there are ten stages by which 
the poison gets ultimately into the head, and only slowly 
and by degrees could this poison be removed from the 
system. For every stage one stanza was sung and the 
peculiar kind of chanting added a mysterious and mag- 
netic force with the consequence that the effects of the 
poison were removed and the boy was revived. This is 
still considered a powerful marttra for healing the 
poisonous bite of the serpent. 

Date of Appar. Appar was a contemporary of Tiru- 
jnana Sambandar. That he flourished in the first half of 
the seventh century A.D. is evident from the fact that he 

iTirumurai IV, Padikam 18, p. 41, Tfvdram (Tirumurai 4 to 6), ed. 
by K. Sadaiiva Chettiar, Saiva SiddhanU Works (1928) . 



was a contemporary of Gunabhara, known to history as 
Mahendravarman I who ruled from A.D. 600 to 630. 1 
According to K. S. Srinivasa Pillai, the probable date of 
his conversion to the Saiva faith from the Jaina may 
be before A.D. 613-4. 2 Perhaps Appar belonged to 
the latter half of the sixth century and continued to 
the seventh century. 8 


The Legend. In the village of Tirunavalur, now 
known as Tirunamanallur, about eleven miles west 
of Panrutti Railway Station, was born the saint 
Sfundaramurti. He belonged to the Brahman caste. 
The chieftain of that place, who was Narasinga 
M/unaiyar, took a fancy to the child and brought him 
up in his place with the permission of his parents. 
When he became of marriageable age, the father Sadaiya 
:nar selected for him the daughter of one Sadankavi 
Sivacari of Puttur. The wedding day came on and 
the ceremonies were proceeding, when the Lord Siva 
appeared in an old man's guise and laid a ban on 
the marriage as he claimed that Sundara was his bond slave 
and as such could not marry without his previous per- 
mission, according to the bond executed by the boy's 
grandfather, and that he therefore objected to the 
marriage. The bond was denied, and the boy in a fit 
of rage seized it and tore it to pieces. The old man 
insisted on his claim and they all repaired to the 
assembly of the learned men of Nallur to have the 
matter properly adjudicated. The members were satis- 
fied with the veracity of the bond, and, adjudged 
Siundara as a hereditary bondsman to the old man. 

1 See the Pallava* of Kafichi, p. 88. 

* Tamil Varaldfu, voL ii, p. 63. 

See K. S. RSmaswami Sastri, Saiva SamayOctiryas, p. 47. 


Swndara went along with the old man who entered 
the temple and suddenly disappeared proving to all 
that he was no other than the Lord enshrined in the 

Our Svamiji's joy knew no bounds. From that day he 
became an ardent devotee of the Siva cult and wandered 
from place to place. In the course of his tour he came 
to Tiruvarur temple where he met Paravaiyar, a virgin 
devotee of the Lord, and took her to wife and Jived 
happily with her. Then he went on to a number of other 
places sacred to Siva, working miracles here and there. 
One such place was Tiruvorriyur, north of Madras, 
where he met another female devotee Sangiliyar, whom 
also he married after promising to live with her for a 
fixed period. But as he forsook her before this period, 
he lost the sight of his eyes which, however, he regained 
through the grace of God. 

Sundara became a friend of the Cera king 
Ceraman Penumal Nayanar, who invited him to his place 
and duly honoured him. While he was in his capital 
Mahodai, otherwise known as Kodiunkolur (modern 
Cranganore), the term of his stay in this world was 
ended ; and he began to proceed to Kailasa, there to join 
the Lord and abide with Him for ever. This was noticed 
by Ceraman who also prayed to follow him and was 
permitted. His hymns form the seventh Timmwrai of 
the T&varam. The age at which he attained salvation 
is said to be thirty-two. 1 

The date of Sundarwmurti. According to the 
tradition transmitted by the Periydpwancm, Sundara- 
murti was a contemporary of Ceraman Perumal. 
Again the legend contained in the Tiruvilaiy&dal 

1 See for full particulars : Periyapur&wan, Toduttatkoytfa Purfyam and 
also Eyarkdn Kal%kk&man&ya#ar Pur&iyam and 


of Paranjotimunivar bears out that the Pandyan king 
who reigned during that time was Varaguna. But 
the difficulty arises from the fact that there are two 
kings by that name. 1 The king Varaguna whose name 
occurs in the Aivarmalai record must have ascended 
the throne in A.D. 862-3, and must have been the 
grandson of Varaguna Maharaja. 2 According to 
Mr. Srinivasa Pillai, Sundaramurti died in A.D. 825 
which is also reckoned to be the last year of the rule of 
Ceraman Perumal. 8 If this assumption is correct, 
Sundaramurti must have been a contemporary of 
Varaguna Maharaja. According to Professor Jouveau- 
Dubreuil 4 the Pandyan king Varaguna Maharaja led 
an invasion into the Pallava kingdom in the reign of 
Dantivarman. Dantivarman's rule seems to have extend- 
ed to fifty-one years, commencing roughly at 775 A.D. It is 
therefore reasonable to suppose that Sundaramurti lived 
in the latter half of the eighth century and the first 
quarter of the ninth century. According to M. Raghava 
Ayyangar, Sundaramurti was a contemporary of Raja- 
simha Pallava and hence must have flourished in 
the first quarter of the eighth century. 6 But if we accept 
the view that Ceraman Perumal was the royal patron of 
the saint, and that his death marks the beginning of the 
Kollam era, the Kvllam era began on the 15th August, 
A.D. 825, Sundara must be said to belong to the beginning 
of the ninth century A.D. 

*See for the genealogy and identification, the P&vdyan Kingdom,. 
p. 41 ff. 

*Ibid., p. 45. 

3 Tamil Varolfiw II, pp. 72-3. 

* The Fallow, p. 77. 

5 See note on pp. 135-6 of. Afv&rkalk&lanilai. 

5a*uasamay4c8rya p. 75. See also K. R. Subrahmanian, Origin of 
Sowism, pp. 68-9. 



The Date. The life of this South Indian saint 
who bears a favourable comparison with St. Augustine, 
St. Paul, and St. Francis of Assisi and other learned 
saints of the West, is to be traced from poetical 
legends which have grown around that notable figure. 
It is even difficult to definitely assign to him a 
particular period, but still it is reasonable to fix it 
as the ninth century A.D. Lassen's theory of the sixth 
century and Pope's theory of the seventh or eighth cen- 
tury are not supported by authentic evidences. Prof. 
K.A. Nilakanta Sastri is of opinion that the Varaguna 
mentioned by the Saint is neither of the two Varagunas 
known to history but a Varaguna of legend about whom 
we are yet to know anything and he concludes that 
Manikkavasakar must have preceded the Tevaram Trio. 1 
K. S. Srinivasa Pillai 2 and S. Anavaratavinayakam 
Pillai arrive at the conclusion that he lived after the 
Tevaram Trio. K. G. Sesa Ayyar discusses at length 
this problem and fixes the age in the latter half of the 
fourth century. It is contended that by the term Poy- 
adtmai-illata-pulavw Sundara refers to Manikkavasakar. 
Again the reference by Appar to the legend of purchasing 
horses for royal use and their transformation to jackals is 
adduced. 8 Against this it is pointed out that there are 
unmistakable references to Sambandar 4 and Sun- 
daramurti 5 in the Tirwj&siakam. 

1 The Pantfyan Kingdom, pp. 66-7. 

2 Tamil Varalafu, vol, ii, pp. 77-125, Tamil Perwmakkaf Vvral&w, p. 74 ff. 
8 See the Tamilian Antiquary. See in the same journal T. Ponnam- 

balam Pillai's article * Manikkavasakar and Christians of Malabar. 9 

5 Qp&rwfr 
Qnesrik fiGfffasr n&Qtu 

Also see K. S. Ramaswami Sastri's Sawa Swnaytlchdryas, pp. 12-27. 
His conclusion is that the saint belonged to the fourth or fifth century 
A,D. (Vasanta Book Depot, Madras), 1927. 


The Legend. During the epoch when King Arinxart- 
tanan was ruling at Madura, Manikkavasakar was born 
in a place called Tiruvadavur. He was a Brahman by 
caste and grew up to be a promising young man of 
parts. The king appointed him as his minister. A 
devout student of the Agamas, this young minister was 
in quest of a teacher who would initiate him into the 
mysteries of the Agiama literature. 

Once it happened thus. The king, whose cavalry 
arm was deficient, was told of horses landed for sale 
at his port town by a merchant from Arabia, and 
he deputed his minister to buy them for him. On 
the way he met a Saiva saint, the Lord Siva himself 
with his attendants, and became a convert to His Grace 
and remained there as His disciple, spending all the 
king's money in building a temple there. On hearing 
this, the king ordered him to return to the court 
immediately. He returned accordingly, permitted by 
the Lord who promised to send the horses on a fixed 
date. The minister was suspected of embezzlement and 
imprisoned. The Lord converted the jackals of the 
forest into horses and drove them before His Majesty. 
He became well pleased and also satisfied, and released 
the minister from bondage. 

But at night the horses all turned into jackals 
and ran away. This highly enraged the king who 
inflicted on his minister further tortures and punish- 
ment. Btut soon coming to know of his real in- 
nocence and true devotion, the king repented and 
reinstated Manikkavasakar in his place and thencefor- 
ward held him in high respect. But the sweets of 
office had no longer any charm for our saint and 
his longing for the Sacred Presence deepened. He 
took a pilgrimage to Cidambaram, and by a miracle 


vanquished the Buddhists, and soon became one with 
the Lord. 1 From this it would appear that this sage 
lived in an age of decaying Buddhism and rising 

His chief works are the Tiruv^akcm and the 
Timkkovai* Of these the TirnvMakam seems to tell an 
autobiographical tale of the different stages of his 
spiritual life and experience which ultimately enabled 
him to attain enjoyment ineffable and eternal. It is a 
torrential outflow of ardent religious feelings and 
emotions in rapturous songs and melodies. This work 
may be regarded as a convenient handbook on mystical 
theology. It is the spontaneous outpouring of his 
ecstatic feelings, under the stress of strenuous spiritual 
impulses. Among the accredited devotional works 
in the Tamil tongue it takes the foremost rank. The 
other equally remarkable work of his is the Tiryik- 
kovai. Superficial readers devoid of true spiritual 
acumen are apt to treat this supreme mystic work as an 
ordinary text of love-poetry. True, what is known in 
Sanskrit as the Srngprarasa seems at first sight to 
dominate the whole poem. But it must be remem- 
bered that it is only a thin veil covering grand and 
beautiful religious tnuths and conceptions. 

It would not be out of place here to give the sum 
and substance of the story contained in this poem as a 
layman finds it. A lover accidentally meets a maid in 
some solitary mountain glade, is enamoured of her, 
approaches her and both become fast attached to each 
other by the silken bonds of love. Then they marry in 
public and settle down to the life of householders. 

!Vide Timvadavfiraitiffal Purfyam, by Katfavul-MSmunivar, Jaffna 
ed. (1897). See also Introduction of G. U. Pope's edition of the 
fakam, pp. xvii-xxxiL 

'Published by Sendilvelu Mudaliar, Madras. 


Shortly after, one business or other necessitates the 
husband's absence in foreign countries for a shorter or 
longer period according to the nature of the business. 
Both feel the separation keenly, and look forward rather 
eagerly to the day when both of them should meet 
for an indissoluble union as it were. But the grief of the 
forlorn wife in her solitary home ever thinking of her 
absent lord, daily becomes more and more unbearable, 
and she breaks forth in piteous wail, expressive of the 
various phases of her grief. It is this grief of the lonely 
wife yearning to join her husband in warm, indissoluble 
embrace that allegorizes the earnest efforts of the 
individual soul seeking re-union with the Universal Soul. 
Such a simple theme as this need not require a 
Manikkavasakar to expound and illustrate it. So there 
is an altogether different interpretation that should be 
read into this supreme work. The story goes that this 
gifted Acarya, during his pilgrimage from one place 
to another, came to Cidambaram, one of the holy places 
of Southern India, stood before the shrine of the Lord 
Nataraja, and sang these verses. And the Lord, it is 
said, himself took them down in his own hand to show 
his appreciation of this poem and the deep devotion by 
which it was inspired. 

Men of deep intuitive insight perceive and perceive 
rightly, the highly spiritual meaning underlying this 
story. The Lord was the eternal object of his love, and 
Manikkavasakar himself, a lover from the earliest days of 
his life. But by some accident, he has "been long separated 
from the object of his love. He feels this separation in- 
tensely, realizes this well, and yearns for an indissoluble, 
inviolable, and irreproachable union or oneness with God. 1 
The usual practice with other mystic poets is just the 

iSee TintkkOvaiyOr V*mai, ed. by SwSminStha 


opposite. In other words, the Lord is generally invoked 
as lover and the devotee as the object of love. 

The opening stanza 1 of this valuable work, entitled 
nurcir&ppu, apparently written by an ardent admirer of 
this great saint, which I cannot help quoting, furnishes 
a gist in four lines of the various aspects in which 
persons of different kinds of temperaments would 
view it. 

'When speaking of this, the Brahmans will say this 
is the essence of the Vedas: the Yogins, that of the 
Agamas : libidinous persons, that it is a treatise on erotics : 
the logicians, a work on dialectics, etc/ Thus, the 
Timkkdvw will be found to be a splendid example of 
the purely material kind of mystic poetry. 



Before we proceed to speak of the later and the 
more recent mystic poets, it is necessary to state the 
great part played by the eminent Vaisnava Samayacar- 
yas. These were equally distinguished and renowned 
teachers and preachers of the Vaisnava cult. Some of 
them were even contemporaries of the Saiva Sam,a- 
yacaryas. These Vaisnava Acaryas and saints go by 
the name of Alvars, and they are twelve in number. 
They were the famous authors of the great and well- 
known collection of the Nalayirappirahandam or 
Divyappirahcmdam. This, it may be said without any 
fear of contradiction, stands on the same footing of 
sanctity as the Tevamm of the aiva saints, to which 

1 ^Be&rt&stT Qessresru ffsptBrir QturrBiu 

enro&rr Qcwreoru Qnmessr QffQfpQjgcaru /foarL^GW/f 
tmnmiriu Gjbpw u&sQ&fr esweouuf QfuiSi^Qter. 

Ed. by Arumuga Navalar (fourth edition). 


we had occasion to refer. These Alvars were also 
religious mystics of the same type. Every one of them 
had personal, intuitive experience of the Divine 
Presence. They also preached in season and out of 
season against the doctrines and the practices of the 
S<mmas as well as the Buddhists, who were regarded 
as the common enemies of the Hindu religion. Among 
these high spiritual souls, Nammalvar, Kulasekaralvar, 
Tirumangaiyalvar and Andal figure prominently. This 
work would not be complete without at least a brief 
reference to each of these four, if not to all the twelve. 


The Legend. The greatest of all Alvars and a born 
saint was Nammalvar. 1 He is known by different 
appellations which show his universal popularity. He is 
popularly known as Satakopan and Maran. According to 
orthodox Vaisnava tradition, unlike other Alvars who were 
incarnations of Visnu's weapons or ornaments, Nammal- 
var was the (avatar of Visvaksena, or Gananatha, the 
head of the Ganas of God Visnu. Nammalvar was the 
son of Kari, who held a high post under the Pandyan 
king and afterwards became a petty chieftain known as 
Kariyar of Valutivalanadu, tributary to the Pandyas. Its 
chief place was Tirunagari on the Tambraparni in the 
Tinnevelly District. Mythology clouds the life of the 
saint from his childhood. The child was born, but did 
not exhibit signs of hunger or thirst for ten days, to 
the despair of the parents. On the eleventh day the baby 
was left under a tamarind tree in the local temple. From 
that time the baby entered into Yogic contemplation up to 

1 See the Gwruparamparai both Tengalai and Vajagolai versions: 
See also A. Govindacarya's The Holy Lives of Afaors or Dravidu Saints, 
p. 191 ff., Mysore, 1902. 


his sixteenth year. About this time another Alvar, Madu- 
rakavi, a Brahman of Tirukkolur, who had dedicated his 
life early to the service of God, heard of the illustriotus 
Nammalvar and became his disciple. At this stage the 
Lord Narayana appeared and initiated Nammalvar into 
the mystery of the great mantnaOM NAMO NARAYA- 
NAYA. This was the swminum bomiwti of his life. 
He became a great teacher and included among his 
disciples, Madurakavi, the author of Kanninun- 
siruttambu. It is generally believed that this saint lived 
thirty-five years and his inspired utterances, the Tiw- 
virwttam, the Tiruvasiriyam, Periya Tiruvandadi and 
Tiruvaymoliy correspond to the four Vedas, the Rik, 
Yajus, Atharva and Sama. Those who follow the 
Vaisnava oult look upon his intensely religious works as 
containing the very pith and marrow of the sacred 
Vedas. Of these the Tiruvaymoli which contains a 
thousand poems and which forms nearly one- fourth of the 
Divyappimbwidam, deals in an excellent and masterly 
way with the various and varied aspects and attributes 
of the Lord Narayana. The Tiruvaymoli and especially 
Tirwvir^itam deal with ecstatic love of the Lord. The 
God is represented as Nayaka (Lover) and himself Nayaki 
or the object of love. Nammalvar thus holds an honoured 
place in the history of Vaisnavism in South India. 

Date. As has been said already, he is the great Acar- 
ya who yearned for the living presence of Lord Visnu and 
succeeded in realizing that sacred and holy Presence. 
An examination of the Anamalai inscriptions 1 has led 
the late Gopinatha Rao to the conclusion that Nammal- 
var lived in the first half of the ninth century. 2 

1 See Sen Tamil for 1906, Gopinatha Rao's articles; also his History of 
the Sri FaiftHKW^ Madras University, 1923, pp. 18-21. 

2 See for a fuller discussion on the subject Earty History of 



There are two other opinions with regard to the date 
of Namunalvar. One is that he belongs to the fifth 
century A.D., and the other to the tenth or eleventh 
century A.D. Arguments in favour of both these theories 
are examined by Srinivasa Pillai, but it is not possible to 
arrive at a definite conclusion. 1 From the surnames 
Maran and Parankusan, and from the fact that he was the 
predecessor of Tinimangaialvar, according to the Glwrw- 
pwampami, he may be placed in the reign of king Maran, 
great grandfather of Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan of Velvi- 
kudi grant, roughly in the latter half of the seventh century. 


The Legend. Kulasekara 2 is another of these deeply 
religious mystics. His transports of religious emotion 
are, as we shall presently see, peculiarly his own. It is 
said that Kulasekara was born as the incarnation of 
Visnu's Kvustubfaa. He was the son of Drdhavrata, king 
of Kerala. Before he was sixteen he learnt the trayi, the 
puranas, the itihasas and other allied literature. After his 
marriage Drdhavrata had Kulasekara crowned king 
and retired to the forest to lead the life of a Vana- 
prasta. Kulasekara as a king discharged his duties 
by protection and extensive conquests in the Cola and 
Pandyan kingdoms. Like the illustrious Asoka of ancient 
days, Kulasekara utilized his position to do moral and 
religious propaganda. 

Date. This Vaisnavacarya is, according to tradition, 
the next after Nammalvar in point of time. It is said 
that he must have lived before the ninth century, before 
Vijayalayan, the Cola king, who miade Tanjore his capital 

1 Tamil Vard&ru II, pp. 148-72. 
*Dnwi4a Saints, p. 117. 
- -<>,' Caritttom, pp. 33-6. 


in A.D, 849, There is no reason to assign to him the 
eleventh or twelfth century A.D. 1 Other evidences point 
out that he must have flourished at the commencement 
of the eighth century. 2 

His Mysticism. He lived in a world of his own crea- 
tion. The one outstanding feature in him was that he 
retired into himself from the world without. It would 
appear that his soul lived apart from his surroundings and 
environments. The fourth dafakam of his songs designat- 
ed Perwmal Timmoli and addressed to Sri Tiruvenkata, 
Lord of the Tirupati hills, beginning with the word 
unerfa? A perusal of his writings makes these things 
evident, nay quite obvious. Kulasekara, it must be noted 
at the outset, was one of the distinguished Cera kings. He 
was a Pandita Cera. Himself a great scholar and author, 
he was a devoted patron of learning and learned men. 
He was an ardent devotee of Sri Ramacandra. The 
tenth dasakam 4 is addressed to God Visnu of Tillainagar 
Tiruccitrakutam ( Cidambaram ) . 

It is a peculiar custom in India that it is not enough if 
one goes through the religious works, but one should 
discipline oneself before this by hearing the story from 
a gwru or from one versed in that particular branch of 

Kulasekara was a great believer in the observance 
of such customs and traditions. So he used to hear the 


See also M. Raghava Ayyangar's Ato&rkwl K&ldnilai, pp. 177-200. 
2 S. K. Ayyangar's Early History of Vaifnavismj pp. 26-37. 

p. 151 

P. 165 MlAJyim Divyappirabandam, edited by D. 
Madras, third edition. 


story of the R&m&yana. When he was engaged in 
hearing the story,; 1 and reached the portion known as the 
klwrwvadha, where Sri Rama fought single-handed against 
myriads of Raksasas, he could not contain himself. He 
burst out, put on the armour, and went forth to the help 
of Sri Ramacandra. Again when hearing the narration 
of Rama's army crossing to Lanka, he armed himself and 
got down into the sea with his retinue of soldiers thinking 
of rendering assistance to the great Dasaratha's son. 

These two incidents in his life are referred to here, to 
indicate how Kulasekara was moved by intense and 
deep religious faith in the object of his love and devotion 
who was Sri Ramacandra himself. Thus, mysticism to 
him is conscious, something real, and a living presence. 

This intense religious life on the part of the king did 
not appeal to his ministers. The latter resolved to get 
rid of the Vaisnava devotees who were hangers-on of the 
king by fair or foul means. After many an attempt, they 
removed a costly jewel from the image of his tutelary 
deity and attributed the theft to these devotees. The 
royal saint pleaded their innocence by offering to put his 
hand into a pot containing cobras. If the cobras did not 
bite, it was a monumental proof of the innocence of the 
devotees and the criminal offence of his ministers. The 
cobras refused to harm the noble soul. The ministers 
realized his sincerity and greatness and conducted them- 
selves rightly thenceforward. Still the charm of the 
throne did not weigh with him. He had his son crown- 
ed, and retired to lead a life of penance and prayer. He 
made an extensive pilgrimage from Srirangam to Tiru- 
pati until at last he reached Manniarkoyil in Tinnevelly 
District where his soul departed from his body. It is 
said that he was then about seventy-five years old. 

1 See the Guruparampwais. 


His other work which is in Sanskrit, is the well- 
known M^bimdamala. Here is a picture of the grief- 
stricken king exhibiting his keen longing for re-union 
with Him, thus justifying our conception in regard to 
his mysticism. 1 


The Legend. 2 In Tiruvali Tirunagari near the 
modern Siyali was born Tirumangai mannan. He is 
considered as the incarnation of Visnu's sarahga. When 
young he was known as Nila. His father belonged by 
caste to the fourth class and he held the office of a 
General in the Cola army. The ycwung Nila was trained 
in military science, and he became in time a soldier of 
much reputation. The Cola king was pleased with his 
valpur and made him the head of Tiruvali-nadu. In 
this capacity again he won a name and got recognition 
by the title of Parakala, literally death to the enemies. 
Tirumangai entered into the life of the householder by 
marrying a pious lady named Kumudavalli, a staunch 
devotee of Narayana. Through her unparalleled influ- 
ence, Tirumangai became a convert to Vaisnava faith 
and spent all his income on charities. Failure to pay 
tribute to the Cola king enraged the latter who had him 
punished by imprisonment. Then it is said that the 
Lord enshrined at Kancivaram offered to pay the dues 
and got him freed. So it happened. He was always in 
need of money to be spent on charities. Expediency 
dictated to him to resort to unscrupulous ways to satisfy 
his religious thirst. Hence he took to the life of a high- 
way robber. The Lord who was pleased with his sincerity 
appeared before him in the guise of a Brahman, when he 
robbed him of all his possessions. The Lord imparted 

1 Tr. Ar. 5*., vol. v, 109-11. * Divyartricaritam, pp. 57-63. 


to him ast&ksam mantra and disappeared. This threw 
the pious robber into a transport of real joy. This 
invested him with all the qualifications of a good poet. 

In the course of his pilgrimage to the important 
Vaisnava shrines he reached Srirangam where he resolved 
to improve the building of the temple. But he was 
short of money. The blind zeal drove him to think of 
stealing the Buddhist golden image at Negapatam. 
With this idea he reached Negapatam, effected an entry 
into the temple with great difficulty, got the image and 
returned to Srirangam through the modern villages of 
Puravacceri and Tirukkannangudi. The Buddhist idol 
was melted and the expenses were met. Once again 
he set out on a pilgrimage luntil he spent his last days in 
the village of Tirukkurufigudi in the Tinnevelly District. 

Date of the Alvar. It is not so easy, as one would 
imagine, to determine the date of this Alvar. According 
to the legends, Tirumangai was a contemporary of 
Tirujnana Sambandar whom he met at Siyali and spent 
some time with him there. As the date of the Saiva 
saint is accepted generally as the middle of the seventh 
century A . a and as other references relegate this Alvar 
to a much later date, it would be wrong to identify with 
Sambandar, the Nayanar, who was the contemporary of 
Tirumangai. If this is to be accepted the Saiva saint 
referred to should be Sundaramurti. 

There are of course sufficient materials to determine 
the age of this Alvar from independent sources. Of these 
there is an unimpeachable reference to the drum of 
Pallavamalla, who is no other than Nandivarman Pallava- 
malla (circa A.D. 710 75), who was succeeded by Danti- 
varman. Hence this date is the upper limit of the age of 
Tiramangai 1 . The Alvar again refers to Vayiramega a 

1 Gopinatha Rao's History of Sri Vtrijnavas, pp. 24*5. 


surname of Dantidurga Rastrakuta, 1 a contemporary of 
Nandivarman Pallavamalla. 2 

His Works. The pious robber was a learned poet. 
He owed his learning to the deep grace of the Lord. 
His poems are of a highly philosophical type and go by 
the name of Teriyatirumoli, 
TirunedimtandaJtwrn, Elukiirrirukkai, 
and Periyatirwnadal. These six poems form a supple- 
ment as it were to the four prakandas of Nammalvar. 
It may be noticed in passing that while the literary 
works of Nammalvar are compared to the four Vedas, 
those of Tirumangai are compared to the six Vedangas. 
Hence the Vaisnavas call the joint work of these two 
alvars the Tamil Veda. 3 

Of these the Siriyatimmadal and the Periya- 
tirunwdcti are erotic in form like the Twukkovai. 
Whereas the kowai relates to bilateral love, the modal 
deals with unilateral love, that is, the love of one to 
another which however is not reciprocated by that other. 
The madcUs in question are erotic in form but in form 
only. A deep spiritual significance underlies the highly 
devotional songs of the great Tirumangai. Here the 
famous saint fancies himself a lady in deep love with 
the Lord and manifests his intense desire of love towards 
Him, and even goes to the length of threatening that he 
would do the last and worst thing, namely, subjecting 
himself to such severe tribulations and sufferings as 
would lead to death itself, if the Lord did not reciprocate 
his heart's desire which is no less than intimate spiritual 
union with Himself. 

/>. Ind. iv, p. 334; Q. /. M. Society* xiii, pp. 581-&and pp. 698-700. 

2 See also M. Raghava Ayyangar's AhMrkal-Katonttai, p. 89 ff. and 
180 ff. I*d. Ant, 1906; S. K. Ayyangar's article on Tirumangai 
in his Earftf Hi&ory of Vaiwaeuism, p. 88. 

8 See Guruparamparais (Vacjagalai and Tengalai versions). 


4. ANDAL 1 

The Legend. In the ancient village of Villipputtur, 
sacred to the memory of Periyalvar, whose unflinching 
devotion to the Lord Visnu was beyond limit, Andal, 
the jewel among the mystics, was born about A.D. 716. 
The story goes that when once Periyalvar was engaged as 
usual in gathering flowers from the local flower-garden 
he discovered a baby-girl underneath the basil plants. 
His happiness knew no bounds. He took the baby 
home and brought up the young Kodai as he named her . 
While young she was able to learn the highly philosophi- 
cal works, and her bent of mind was not worldly but 
was fully directed towards the Lord Visnu. She is also 
known as Nacciyar and Sudik-koduttal. 2 

About the latter name Sudik-koduttal, there again 
hangs a story. Her father Periyalvar was in the habit of 
gathering flowers in the morning and weaving them into 
garlands to be used for the object of his worship during 
the period of prayer. It would appear that Andal's 
devotion to the Lord was so intense that she took 
herself to be the loving partner of the Lord. Hence, 
without the knowledge of her father, she used to deck 
herself with those flowerwreaths intended for the Lord, 
to satisfy herself whether she was a sufficiently beautiful 
figjure to be attracted by the Lord Himself. 

Sometime before her father would offer his worship, 
she used to remove those flowers, for use in the puja. 
This went on, until one day Periyalvar noticed a hair in 
the garland, hence unfit to be offered to the Lord. 
He was anxious to know how this came about, and when 
questioned, the faithful daughter could no more hide the 

*Cf. D$vyas*ricctritam, p. 66 ff., also Dravifa Saints, p. 41 ff. 

AlSIDAL 113 

fact. He was sorry, and performed the p&ja without 
flowers. That night there appeared the Lord in his 
dream and said that flowers which once adorned An^Sl 
would alone be acceptable to Him. 

Now Periyalvar recognized the greatness of his 
daughter. Andal became sufficiently aged to be married. 
The father was anxious to get for her a suitable hus- 
band. When Andal heard of the arrangements which 
were being made by her father in regard to her marriage, 
she informed him that she would not marry any mortal 
being but was going to get herself wedded to the 
Lord enshrined at Srirangam. 1 The poor father did 
not know what to do. The Lord appeared to him in a 
dream and asked him to take his daughter to his 
sanmdhi in the Srirangam temple. As ordered Periyalvar 
took Andal in wedding dress to the Holy Presence and 
to the wonderment of all the visitors, the Lord extended 
His hands and took her in loving embrace, when Andal 
disappeared as if in the air. Though the father was 
pleased to secure the Lord Himself as his son-in-law, 
still he was sorry for her separation from him. To 
such feelings he has given vent in his Tirumoli. 2 

Date. According to the Giimiparampwais, it is said 
that Andal was born on a Tuesday, in the year Nala, in 
the month of Asadha, Suklacaturdasi, Puranaksatra. 
According to the late Swamikannu Pillai's calculation 
this date corresponds to June 25, A.D. 776. This date 
could not be taken as conclusive inasmuch as other 
authoritative works like the Divyasuriaarit&m dealing with 
the lives of Alvars do not make mention of this fact, 
namely, the date of her birth. This omission together 
with other lines of evidence goes to show, as we have 

2 See Periyalvar Tirumoli, 3, 8. 


already said, that A.D. 716 is the year in which our mystic 
poetess was born. This date is based chiefly on 
certain verses in the 13th Tinippawi of Andal herself. 1 

This passage refers not merely to the rising of Sukra 
(velli) but also to the simultaneous setting of Guru 
(viyafan). According to astronomical calculations this 
could have been only on December 18, A.D. 731. This 
was the date, then, of the composition of Tiruppavai, 
when Andal must have been aged about fifteen. If this 
is correct, she must have been born in the year 716. 2 

Her Works. The chief works attributed to this 
celebrated poetess are the Tiruppavai mwppatw (30), and 
Nacciyar TirumoH (153). The Timppwuai is an inter- 
esting work. It celebrates what is known as pavai 
nonbu which is the occasion of a vowed observance by 
young girls in the month of Margali (December- January), 
the object being to secure good husbands for themselves 
and the prosperity of their country. The extant 
work celebrates such a festival indulged in by the maid- 
ens of the Yadava caste in honour of Kannapiran (Lord 
Krisna). In this work again she expresses herself, on hav- 
ing attained womanhood, that she would stand by her firm 
resolution to wed no human being bait only the Lord. 3 

QtU(lglBgl e&ILHTlp 

&6&u>i3eBr8rTG6ir Quirpifls 

2 See for full details M. Raghava Ayyangar's Alv&rkal-Kalanilai, 
pp. 74-94. 

3 'jfQJGDffLJ iSlffiruJif 

ANDAL 115 

In the other work Tirumoli, Andal has decided to 
bestow her love on Tirumal only and not to seek any 
other husband. She regards Visnu as the lover and 
herself as the object of love. She addresses the Lord 
with such feelings as are natural to one separated from 
one's lover, and yearning for spiritual union with Him. 
The keenness of separation and her consequent difficul- 
ties are told with a wealth of detail. 1 

In one place she seems to think that the Lord has 
definitely promised to take her in loving embrace and has 
either forgotten it or did not take notice of her, a small 
human being. Whatever it may be, she continues, 
the Lord cannot so easily deceive her father through 
whom she has full hopes of realizing her ambition. 2 

We also know how she realized this to the full extent 
of her satisfaction. Mysticism in the case of Andal is 
something more than formal. 

Lack of space forbids us to go here into more details 
of Andal's works, and also those of the other equally 


tiouir QutfltLiiT QjpiLDrreffflL-iTujfr(6$ Q&u 



jfu>es>L> tifsuuiretoffp pirQpsuutr 

TirumoK, 10.10; 11.10. 


reputed Alvars. 'They cover a wide field, ranging 
from the simple plaintive songs of Tondaradippodi to 
the thought-laden odes of Nammalvar, from the polished 
poems of Kulasekara Alvar to the mystical love songs 

of Andal The songs of the Vaisnava singers 

taken along with those of the contemporary Saiva poets 
both considerably similar and alike in their poetry and 
spiritual contents form the earliest and most remarkable 
religious poetry known to any Indian vernacular/ 1 'The 
age of Tamil mystics and poets was also the great age 
of Tamil art. The theistic cults of Siva and Visnu 
which gave rise to high poetry also inspired an art 
renaissance, the greatest South India has ever seen/ 2 
Suffice it to say in respect of these Saiva as well as 
Vaisnava Samayacaryas in general with the English 

Blessed are they who peaceably should endure, 

For Thou, O Most Highest, shalt give them a crown. 


The Legend. In the sacred hills of Kailasa, the abode 
of Lord Siva, there are many disciples of god Nandi, all of 
them being followers of Siva and Siva-yoga. Once, one 
among them set out to the Podiyil hill of Agastya to spend 
some time with that sage. Having passed through many 
a place of pilgrimage, he reached Tiruvavaduturai, near 
the present Kumbakonam town. There he heard in the 
distance the sad bellowing of cattle continuously for a 
long time. He went to the place and found the cowherd 
Mula by name dead on the ground surrounded by the 
faithful cows and calves, bemoaning the loss of their kind 

l Scc p. 17 of NQfntnOlv&r (G. A. Natesan & Co., Madras). 
'See 0. 46At>t>ar (G. A. Natesan & Co. Madras V 


master. This sight aroused his sympathy and in order 
to bring solace to the afflicted animals, he entered into the 
dead body of Mula and gave life to it. The cattle were 
pleased, went about grazing and returned home at night- 
fall as usiual followed by Tirumula. The animals had 
gone to their sheds. Tirumula was found standing alone 
in the street and did not enter his house. His wife who 
was not aware of what had happened to her husband, 
took Tirumula for him and requested him to get into the 
house. The Nayanar said abruptly that there was no 
relationship between him and her. The faithful lady 
became bewildered and passed a sleepless and restless 
night. Next morning she broke the news to her 
relatives and neighbours. They found Tirumula in 
samadhi in the village matha, unmindful of what was 
happening outside. The lady fell down unconscious and 
was removed home by the villagers. It is said that the 
duration of the sww&dhi was as long as 3,000 years when 
he composed the Tirumantiram in 1 four parts cariyai, 
kiriyai, yog\am and jnanam. 

The name of this great author stands perhaps un- 
rivalled in the domain of Tamil writers in general, and 
of mystic ones in particular. But his mysticism is neither 
purely formal nor purely material. It may be well 
remarked that it is a harmonious blending of both the 
formal and the material. The book which is a master- 
piece in itself contains 3,000 stanzas, dealing with a 
variety of siubjects numbering four hundred themes 
and even more. It speaks of both the possible and 
the impossible, the practicable and the impracticable, 
great as well as trivial things. Tradition recounts 
that this was a work extending over 3,000 years, 

1 Sce Periyapufdwm, ed. 1903, pp. 506-9; also 
(14th edition). 


one stanza being composed every year, the whole year 
being more or less a period of probation, for the compo- 
sing of this one stanza. 1 The following out of many 
could be quoted as typical illustrations of its mystical 
tendencies. In what is known as the unyas<m,pasami 
chapter of the Tiruntcmtiram it is said that 'When 
the brinjal seed was planted, pakal another species 
of vegetable of sour and bitter taste, grew out of 
it When the earth was dug out, a poosani (another 
vegetable of grey colour) appeared. The gardeners 
ran to fetch them. But it was a plantain that 
was fully ripe/ 2 This is the literal meaning of the 
stanza. But what underlies this is of enormous impor- 
tance. The brinjal in Tamil is kattiri which also means 
a pair of scissors. According to the Hindu Yoga 
treatises, there are two main tubes through which the 
life-breath passes in and out, running diagonal-wise down, 
from the toe of the foot up to the nostril. By controlling 
and regulating the passage of air through these tubes by 
means of pranayama, a man is enabled to attain the state 
of Vairagya. That is when the mind ceases to 
function, and is at rest, it is easy to realize God. The 
plantain fruit refers to the salvation of the soul or 
moks\a in Sanskrit, of which the Bible says: 'What 
if yoai gain the whole world, but lose your own soul/ 
Another stanza 8 says : 

**., st. 25-8. 

9th tantra, 23, 4. 




'There are five cows in the Brahman's house. They 
roam astray. If they are controlled by the proper 
herdsman, then all the five would furnish plenty of 
milk/ The mystic interpretation is that a mumuksu 
or the one who wishes to attain the eternal enjoyment 
of bliss, should keep his five senses under strict control 
and watch. 

Again it is said that : 

The boat is taken to the shore by the steersman 
for commercial purposes. If in the middle of the 
way, the keel gives way, the consequence is easily 
imaginable'. 1 This poem expounds the great truth 
contained in what is known in Sanskrit philosophy 
'Thau wrt that.' Here the body is the vessel on 
which the Jlvatman or the Individiual Soul travels to 
the place where the Parwnatman or the Universal 
Soul is, there to become united with it. In plain 
words the body is the vehicle for the attainment of 

Thus, a careful examination of these three stanzas 
manifests clearly that the mysticism here is not only 
formal, but also material. The language is obscure, and 
the matter also not easily intelligible. 

D\ate. There is not enough material to ascertain 
his chronology. But from the fact that Sundaramurti 
refers to him as one of the sixty-three Nayanmars 
in his '^iruttondattohai of the Tevaram, it is reason- 
able to assume that he must have been Siundarmurti's 

'QprrsssR QujiTesrgvewr 


. t 70. 



The Legend. Among the later Tamil mystic poets 
and writers, the names of Tayumanavar and Ramalinga 
Svamigal deserve to be specially mentioned. A study 
of the life of Tayiumanavar is indeed interesting. In the 
village of Vedaranyam (Tirumaraikkadu in Tamil), there 
lived about A.D. 1700 a Saiva, Kediliyappapillai by 
name. At that time the reigning chieftain at Trichy 
named Vijayaraghunatha Chokkaliriga Nayakar had him 
appointed in his service in which he ably conducted 
himself. He had a son whom he gave in adoption to 
his eldest brother who was without any issue. But the 
desire to have another son possessed his mind, and 
with his wife he went daily to the temple and offered 
prayers to that effect. He was soon blessed with a son 
whom he named Tayumanavar after the Lord enshrined 
in the temple at Trichy. The child grew into boyhood 
and became a profound student of Saiva literature. 
Meantime, his father died and the king who was attract- 
ed by the qualities and qualifications of this boy, 
appointed him to his father's post. The office had no 
attraction for him. He thought of temples and gods 
and how to attain godhood. One day he went to the 
temple as usual and found an ascetic sitting in contem- 
plation of Him. He understood that it was Mtmnagwru 
Wami of whom he had heard much before. He waited 
until he would rise up from his yogic posture, and when 
he rose up with a book in hand, Tayumanavar went to 
him and politely asked for the name of the book and 
expressed a desire to be initiated into the mystery of 
&tm&jnatw. The Svamiji was pleased and promised to 
teach him the divine thing the next time he should meet 
him. Meanwhile the Svamiji asked him to look after 
his official work and to lead the life of a householder. 


With great reluctance he returned home and attended 
his duties. 

It so happened that the king died leaving no heir to 
succeed him, except his wife Mmaksiammaiyar. The 
latter invited Tayumanavar and expressed her wish to 
marry him and to place him at the head of the realm. 
This did not appeal to him. He advised her the 
true righteous path and left for Ramesvaram. This 
news reached his people at Vedaranyam and the 
elder brother arranged for his marriage at Vedaranyam 
itself. Tayumanavar agreed and got married. A son 
was born to him, but his wife died. The boy was 
named Kanakasabhapati and grew to be learned. 
Now there appeared the Mwunagurusvami and per- 
mitted him to don the robes of a sannyasin and instructed 
him in the Sivayoga. From that day he became a 
wandering ascetic, visited a number of sacred places of 
pilgrimage and at last got his swmddfai in Laksmipuram 
near Ramnad. 1 

His Mysticism. Tayumanavar is mystic in the sense 
that he speaks from an altogether lofty plane, something 
transcendental, and hence beyond ordinary human com- 
prehension. Like other mystics, he longs for direct com- 
munion with the Lord. While other mystics yearn for a 
union with particular deities like Narayana, Subrahmanya, 
etc., the conception of our poet-saint regarding the Lord 
is something formless and void, and shows him to be 
a devotee of Siva. 2 He realizes the whole universe as 
being permeated by the formless Being. 8 His work 
is full of a number of devotional lyrics dealing with 

1 For detailed information, see Intro., pp. 3-15, of Tayumanavar 
with Meykavfa virutti. Published by B. Ratna Nayakar & Sons, Madras, 

* Sec. Sollarkkoriyar, gt 9. 

* See the whole section entitled crerg; iB&>p8arjD 



several aspects and attributes of the Universal God. 1 
The mysticism, in which his whole work is clothed, has 
for its objective an impersonal Being. This means that 
Tayumanavar does not feel the form or presence of God 
in any definite manner. According to him God is Sat- 
Cit-Ananda the everlasting bliss. 2 He soars high in 
the air of Advaitic philosophy, 3 arid is full of lofty 
tidwitic conceptions, though he w,as by conviction 
a follower of Siddhanta Saiva. 4 It is a compromise 
between Advaita and Saivism. 


The Legend. In this continual and continued succes- 
sion of mystics, Ramalingasvami of very recent times 
occupies a fit place. Ramalinga Pillai was the third son 
of one Ramiah Pillai and Cinnammaiyar, residents of 
Marudur village near Vappuliyur. Ramalinga was born 
in the year 1823 and the legend of his birth runs 
that once when Ramiah Pillai was away from home, God 
Siva appeared to Cinnammaiyar in the form of an aged 
sannyasin, and being pleased with her entertainment, 
the Lord blessed that she would soon get a famous son. 
So it happened. When young, his father passed away 
and it was his eldest brother who had him educated. 
Even as a boy, Ramalinga was attached to Siva temples 
and worship. He became master of all literature with- 
out being taught. He was sixteen when he had a 
burning desire to visit the sacred temple at Tiruvottiyur, 
From that time he began to think of atma, its real truth 

1 Sect. entitled Porinaimddarai, st. 43 and 44. 
2 See section entitled uift 
8 Sec. Acaiyenum, st. 28. 
4 Qutruj&enrL-n-Jr atrgpu 

(?iay/i/r Qar/5/r(?0r/r? 

p. 666. 


and nature, and became a teacher and preacher. 
Noticing an attitude of resignation fast developing in 
his mind, his elder brother forced him to take to the life 
of a householder by getting him married to his own 
sister's daughter . But his unflinching faith and the devo- 
tion to the Lord of his choice did not dwindle. In a 
place called Vadalur or Parvatipuram, he built a temple of 
mystic significance in addition to a dJoarmasala and 
patasala. 1 

His Work. His great work Arutpa is a shining 
monument of his religious devotion, spiritual insight and 
poetical skill. The work is a collection of devotional 
songs uttered out of pure inspiration, yet fully satisfying 
the rules of prosody. In other words though inspiration 
is verily stamped on all his verses, yet the metrical 
tests are completely satisfied. This is only by the way. 

The end of the Svamiji. The end of the life of the 
Svamiji is a little interesting. We already referred to 
his building a temple at Vadalur . Into a certain chamber 
in a cottage in the village of Metfrukkuppam, near 
Vadalur, the Svami retired for contemplation. He 
asked his disciples not to open the door until he return- 
ed; sometime after the door was opened and no vestiges 
of the Svamiji were found. How and where he dis- 
appeared is a mystery even now. At that time he was 
fifty-one years old. 


Thus there has been an unbroken and noble succes- 
sion of religious mystics in the ancient land of the 
Tamils. By their unceasing and continued endeavours 

* For a fuller account, see the introduction to the edition of 
Tiruvarutpattirumuraittirattu, by V. NamaSivaya Mudaliyar (1896) . Besides 
this old edition which is rare, we have also other editions of the work. 
Mention may be made of the edition by S.M. Kandasw^mi Pillai (Madras), 


and labours, the lamp of religious faith is still kept 
burning in the minds of the great masses of the people 
of this land. The one result of it is that such useful 
institutions as the great temples are being abundantly 
multiplied, thus keeping alive the religious life of the 
masses in this world with the struggle for life and exist- 
ence, and where people could not find time to stand face 
to face with the Lord. Thus these great religious 
mystics have sought by their writings to light the 
fire of religious zeal and enthusiasm in the minds of the 
people. Thanks to these mystics, our religion and our 
religious faith were saved from extinction during many an 
hour of peril and crisis. 

Their writings, besides their religious value, form a 
good intellectual treat. To study, to (understand and to 
fully realize these, is indeed very difficult. There are still 
passages that defy even the devoted students of Tamil 

A proper understanding and realization of such 
mystical writings is indeed difficult as it requires high 
acumen, deep vision, and clear understanding on the 
part of the ardent student. He should not approach the 
subject as a layman would. He should, on the other 
hand, place himself on a higher spiritual plane to com- 
prehend thoroughly the mystical force involved. What 
is wanted is an approach to the subject in a pure spirit 
of awe and reverence, so that a correct appreciation of 
these works could be effected with a greater amount of 
power and strength. 


WHATEVER be the date of the Aryan advent in 
Peninsular India, 1 one fact is clear, namely, that Aryan 
ideas and ideals had become completely popularized in 
Tamil India sometime during or before the epoch of the 
Sangam. A study of the mti texts in Sanskrit literature 
bears out that the state came into existence for the pro- 
gressive realization of the triwrga or the mippal of 
Tamil literature. 2 The conception was that progress of 
the world (lobayatra) meant the progressive realization 
of the chief aims of life and these chief aims of life 
according to the then prevalent notions and standards 
were dharma (Awm)> artha (Poml) and kama (Inborn). 
Though the end of this realization is moksa (Vidu) 
yet neither the Arthasastna writers of Sanskrit litera- 
ture nor the political thinkers of the ancient Tamil 
land have thus expressed it. The idea was that the 
Triuarga was the means towards that end, and if once 
the means were realized, the end would automatically 
follow. That the importance of this Trivwrga was well 
realized in Tamil India of the Sangam period is evident 
from the Tclkappiyam and the eighteen poems of 
Kllkhanaklw, traditionally accepted as the Sangam works. 
These eighteen poems among which the Timkkural 
claims the first place of importance have for their object 
how best to realize the trivarga or the nvuppal which would 
lead to the attainment of heaven. In his commentary 

1 The generally accepted date is 700 B.C. 

9 See author's Hindu Administrative Institutions, p. 35. 


on the Kufal the celebrated commentator Parimelalagar 
refers to the indebtedness of Timvalluvar to the accre- 
dited authorities on dandaniti, such as Vyakm (Brhaspati) 
and Velli (Sukra). Unanimous Indian tradition records 
that Brhaspati and, Sukra were the first political theorists 
to whom other writers including the illustrious Ka/utalya 
and the compiler of the ^Rajadharma section of the 
M\aifoatiharat\a were indebted. 

Alleged indebtedness to S>anskrit. In a recent publi- 
cation in Tamil, 1 an attempt has been made to study the 
Kunal from a Tamil point of view. It is contended that 
there is no warrant for the statements of the commen- 
tator Parimelalagar in regard to the indebtedness of 
Valluvar to Sanskrit authors, and that there is a marked 
difference in the classification of the mwppal, and that 
the concept of nwppal is the result of a slow process of 
evolution of the Tamil genius, and that the ideas underly- 
ing the Kur\al have no correspondence with those of 
Sanskrit writings. 2 We do not propose to examine here 
these views which are yet to be proved before they could 
be adopted as conclusive. It may be that the Tamilian 
genius developed itself on independent but parallel lines, 
and the process of such slow but sure development 
culminated in the genius of the Tirukkwral's author. 


Whatever be the decision which future research 
will arrive at in regard to the above particulars, it is 
a fact of the utmost importance that the Rural and 
other poems of Kilkkanakku deal with the trivwrg 
or the nwppal. Though a cursory examination of the 

* Studies m Tirukkural, by R., P. Sethu Pillai with a foreword by 
K. Subraraania Pillai, Madras (1923). 

1 See the chapter entitled ^(ja/drgj/^, uiflQu>G)p8@u> and especially 
p. 163 ff. 


work has been made already 1 , still we shall proceed 
to examine the same in detail to know whether any facts 
could be gleaned out of the fiction that has gathered 
round this notable poet and philosopher. The chief 
sources of information for the life sketch of this author 
are the Kapilar Ahaval and the TimvallMvamatoi, while 
the Ceylon traditions as transmitted in its chronicles 
throw some welcome light. Besides, we have multifarious 
references in Tamil classical literature which go a long 
way to fix the chronological limits of Valluvar's age. 
Legends. Of these the story contained in the Kapilar 
Akcwal belongs to the realm of pure mythology. A refer- 
ence to this work and its value to the historian of Tamil 
India has already been made in our study of the Sarigam 
poet, Kapilar. 2 The story runs that he was the son of a 
Brahman, Bhagavan by name, JDy his wife, a Pulaya 
woman, named Adi. The circumstances which brought 
about their marriage are peculiar and quite incredible. 
One vow taken by them on the eve of the marriage 
was to give away their children ,as presents and 
retain none. It is said that the marriage was over 
and as time went by, they had seven children four 
daughters and three sons. The four daughters were 
Uppai, Umvai, Avvai and Valli. These were presented 
to a washerman, a toddy-drawer, a panan, and a kurava 
respectively, who brought them up. The three sons 
were Adigaman, Kapilar, and Valluvar. While Adiga- 
man became the adopted son of the chieftain of Vafiji, 
Kapilar was brought up by a Brahman. Valluvar was 
presented to one Valluva, a resident of the modern 
Mylapore. Thus the parents fulfilled the vow which 
they took on the occasion of their marriage. Tradition 
further narrates that the adopted father introduced 

1 See supra, p. 38. See supra, p. 54. 


VaUttvar to the profession of weaving in which he spent 
his time. 

Criticism of the Legend. The story is so full of 
inaccuracies and incredible statements that we are afraid 
there is no basis of truth in it excepting the mention of 
the two names Bhagavan and Adi. These names are 
found in the first Kumf in the order of the Adi- 
bhagavan, which means, the God of the Universe 
and has possibly nothing to do with his parentage. 
There is no reliable literary evidence, first in regard 
to his parents, his brothers and sisters, secondly 
his adoption by a Valluva, thirdly his being brought 
up at Mylapore, and lastly his taking to the profession 
of a weaver. It seems that the ingenious author of the 
legend took up the compound word Adi-bhagavan in the 
first Kwal and also the name of Valluvan, and wove a 
story out of his fertile imagination. To repeat once again, 
it is a very late work and the account contained therein 
cannot be credited with any authenticity whatsoever. 

The Story >of the Tirwtalluvamalai. The circum- 
stances under which the Tiruuallwtomalai came to 
be written, and the legend that has gathered round 
this, are of siupreme interest. It is said that Valluvar 
was not merely a weaver but also a man of letters and an 
erudite scholar. 8 His profound scholarship attracted to 
him Elelasinga, a prominent merchant, who carried on 
overseas trade. Elelasinga became much attracted to 
Valluvar and accepted him as his teacher. At his request 
and for the use of his son, Valluvar composed the great 
K&ral. What was originally intended for a single indi- 
vidual has become the book of morals to be usefiully read 

8 See Abhid8nacintam<t*i. 


by the whole world. In that golden age when Valluvar 
had the good fortune to live, it was the custom to get 
every literary work approved by the Sangam Assembly 
then located at Madura. 1 In accordance with this 
practice, the book was taken to the Sarigam Hall. At 
that time, forty-nine poets were the guiding lights of the 
Academy. When the work was presented it met with 
opposition from all sides. It was remarked that it was 
an inferior composition much beneath the recognition of 
the Sangam. But when it was pressed that it might be 
placed on the Safigam plank and thus tested, it was 
agreed to. When once this was done, the Sangam plank 
made enough room to be occupied by the book, to the 
utter surprise of the members of the Academy. They 
then recognized the great value of the work and placed 
the author in the first rank of the poets. 

This" was not all. Every one of the forty-nine 
realized his mistake in having rejected it in the first 
instance, and perhaps to make up for it, every one of 
them hailed it as a first class work by singing a verse in 
praise of the work, the Kuml and its celebrated author. 
Iraiyanar (God Siva in disguise) compared the poet's 
tongue to the kalfia flower. Goddess Sarasvati claimed it 
as the Veda itself. The king Ukkirap-peru Vakiti com- 
pared Valluvar to Brahma himself. Similar panegyrics 
were uttered by every one of the poets constituting the 
Sangam. A collection of these songs was then made 
and thence it went by the name of Twiwallwvamalai. 

The story in the Ceylonese Chronicles. Another 
source of information is the semi-legendary story of 
Elelasinga ias narrated in the Ceylon chronicles. 
These documents mention various incidents connected 
with the story of Alara and the term lO/fira is only a 

a See supra, p. 13, 


corruption of the Tamil word Slela, the just and proper 
ruler that ever ruled the island of Ceylon. It is said 
that this Alara or Elela was a noble of the Cola kingdom 
who invaded Ceylon with an army, had the local ruler 
Asela defeated and slain, got himself crowned king 
of the island, and reigned for forty-four years from 
145 to 101 B.C. 1 He ruled the island so justly and impar- 
tially that he was loved by all classes of people. The 
details of his administration of justice, such as hanging 
.up a bell of justice to be rung by such as should be in 
need of justice, killing his son who had accidentally 
killed a calf, offering his head to be cut off as a penalty 
for unwittingly damaging a stupa, need not detain us at 
present. 2 Apart from the story, what is of importance 
to us is, if Alara or Elela can be proved to be the filela, 
disciple and contemporary of Valluvar, then there is a 
clue and a remarkable clue to attribute the author of the 
Kural to the second century B.C. 

Criticism of the Legends. The following arguments 
disprove the authenticity of the legends mentioned 
above. First the reference to semi-Brahmanical paren- 
tage is curious and unworthy of the birth-story of a saint 
like Valluvar. The Adi-bhagavan in the first kural venba 
refers to God and certainly not to his parents . 

Secondly, Adigaman is a king of much repute 
who is extolled by poets like Kapilar and Awaiyar. 
Thirdly, the adoption of the poet by a Valluva ,at 
Mylapore is yet to be proved. Even if this were 
proved there is the difficulty of interpreting the term 
Valluva. Was it the name of a caste, or the name of a 
person, or name of an office, are questions, the answer 
to which is shrouded in deep mystery. Valluva may 

Ed. Wm. Gcigcr (1912), Intro., p. xxxvii. 
*MahMathSa, S. B. of Ceylon, voL i, pp. 107-10. 


mean a member of the Depressed Classes, a priest, 
a foreteller, a nobleman, and an officer of the State. 
This interpretation could be sustained if the term could 
be identified with the Sanskrit term wllabha* 

Fourthly, there is nothing to corroborate the fact 
that Valluvar took to the occupation of weaving. 2 
What is all known is that Valluvar was a native of 
Madura. But if we could credit the tradition in the 
Tamil Navalar Caritam with any authenticity, there is 
here a stanza attributed to Valluvar himself where he 
says that his profession was weaving. 3 

From the fact that this line and the stanza wherein 
occurs this line admit of other interpretations, we cannot 
cite this as an authority to hang anything like a theory. 

Fifthly, the circumstances narrated for the composi- 
tion of the TirwuMuvamalai contain an epic interest 
not quite useful for purposes of historical investigation. 

Sixthly, the introduction of Gods and Goddesses like 
Siva, and Sarasvati presupposes a super-human atmos- 
phere far from being believed by ordinary men. The in- 
troduction of these deities detracts the value of the 
document as a reliable account. 

Seventhly, the same epic and puranic interest centres 
roiund the story of the Alara in the Ceylon traditions . 
How this story is an authentic one it is not possible 
to say. 

Probable Historical data of the Legends. In spite of 
such inconsistencies and incredibilities, the legends 
could, not be set aside as affording no value to a 
student of history. Bereft of the story, the Tiru- 
walktuamalai bears out the suggestion that Valluvar was 

1 Sec The Tamilian Friend, vol. x, pp. 7-9. 

2 See the twenty-first poem of TirwaHuvamtilai attributed to 


a member of the so-called third Sangam and a contempo- 
rary of some of the celebrated Sangam poets. We can 
also gather that he bore the name of Valluvar. It may 
( be that the saint belonged to the Valluvakkudi, a 
community whose profession was to publish Government 
orders by beat of drum. It is the interesting suggestion 
of Professor Rangacariyar that the term V&lhivar is 
equal to Rajanya in Sanskrit literature, and that from the 
political and practical wisdom he displays in the book, 1 
Valluvar must have held one of the high offices of the 
State. We are reminded of the fact that a political theorist 
like Kautalya wrote his treatise, the Artkasastra for his 
Nwrendra or king Candragupta. In a similar manner 
Valluvar might possibly have done this as a guide to 
his friend Elela or his son. It is also possible that just 
as Kautalya was appointed Chancellor of the Empire, 
Valluvar might have been chosen for a high office of the 
State. Though there is nothing impossible in Jiiis, yet, 
there is nothing definite to venture a conjecture like this. 
If this could be proved, it would falsify the suggestion 
that the term denoted the caste, and not office or 


While we are roaming about in a world of conjectures 
and imaginary pictures basing each on a single word or 
expression accidentally used or met with, it is preposter- 
ous to take up the examination of the date of the com- 
position of the Kwral. What is gratifying to note is 
that there is not such hopeless bewilderment in regard 
to this particular topic. There are three theories that 
now hold the field. One is that he was a late writer and 
his date could not have been earlier than the sixth century 

jrfirtti******** 1 ^!"*!^***^^^^*!** -"**JW\HHS* **- ' *w i- *. %. - , tqgfp&^&N y** > ' **"'' * "* ** VV *""*'"**" 

*See Studies w Sangam History, Ed. Review, October 1928; 


A.D. 1 The other is that he flourished 

yn---* T^tA^*^ **. * i * * 

A.D. 2 The third is that he must 

in the Jfirsjt or second century B.C. As we shall see 
subsequently the cumulative weight of evidence is in 
favour of the last date. The following facts lead on to 
this assumption: 

1 . The Ceylon traditions assign his contemporaneity 
with Elela or Alara of Ceylon who flourished from 144 
to 101 B.C. 

2. The extant Tiruvatyuvamalai, literally the garland 
of Tiruvalluvar is an anthology of panegyric verses 
sung by every one of the poets who constituted the 
Sangam during Valluvar's time, thus pointing to the 
universal appreciation of his great work. Most of these 
poets flourished in the early centuries of the Christian era. 

3. If the books dealing with Aram and Porul or 
politics are indebted to Sanskrit Dharmasastras and 
Arthasastras as the didactic nature of the poem warrants, 
and as Parimelalagar would have it, then, the Fowl 
portion which finds multifarious correspondence with the 
prescriptions of the Kaupaliya Artkajdstra, must be one 
or two centuries after the Arthasastm which is generally 
accepted as a composition of the fourth century B.C. 

4. The correspondence to ideas found in the later 
Sanskrit literature such as Pancatantna, HitopadS&a, 
Kamandaklya and Bhartrhari is due to the fact that these 
works simply incorporated the floating nlti verses and 
hence could not necessarily be a source of information to 
Valluvar's work. The source may be common to all . 

5. Mamulanar, an accredited Sangam poet, 
from the fact of his referring to the flooding of the 
Ganges on the city of Pataliputra, and his non-mentioning 

i History of the Tamils, p. 588. 
'See G. S. Duraisamy, Tamil Literature, p. 89. 


of the fire which consumed it later on, must have 
lived at the commencement of the Christian era or even 
before. His reference to the Kural is valuable as it 
shows beyond doubt that Valluvar lived before him or 
at least was his contemporary. 1 

6. The Poem has again won the appreciation and 
approval of Sittalai Sattanar, the author of the M\ani- 
mSkalai. 2 We know that this attanar was a friend of 
Ilanko-Adigal, the illustrious author of the Silappadi- 
karom. Both were contemporaries of king Senguttuvan 
Cera who is said to have flourished in the second cen- 
tury after Christ. That the Kural must be very much 
earlier than the author of the Manimehalai 3 can be 
gathered from an unquestionable reference to Valluvar. 
From the circumstance in which this reference occurs, 
we can claim a far greater antiquity for Valluvar than is 
generally accorded. The lines are put into the mouth of 
the deity at the butasatukham, who is reported to have 
referred it to a Brahmana lady Marudi, on whom the son 
of the king of the land Kakandan cast eyes of love 
desirous of sexual union. Kakandan, according to the 
story, is a king and contemporary of the mythical hero 
Parasurama, the slayer of the Ksatriya monarchs. It is 
interesting to note that the Kural is quoted as an authority 
in narrating the incident of such old times, as the days 
of Parasoirama. 

It may be noted in passing that this poet called 
Valluvar Poyyil-pulawn literally the true poet. Sat- 
tanar's appreciation is further confirmed by the poem of 
his contemporary Maruttuvan Damodaranar. 4 

st. 8). See for Mamulariar's date author's 
ifapryan Polity. 2 TtruvaHwantflai, st. 10. 

3 'QuiuQuJGBTU Qudj'JjU) Qu(T$U>6tDLp Quj68rp6)/U 

OuirdjuSeo L/06vr QU/T^^ODJ QptytL' K&dai, 22, 11. 60-61. 
*Tvwtallwamalai t st. 11. 


7. The Silapfradikaram which cannot be later than 
the end of the second century A.D. 1 quotes with approval 
from the extant Tirukkural. To quote a work as 
authority it must have been popular for some time and 
there is thus an irrefutable testimony to point out that it 
was a composition much older than the Silappadikamm. 

8. The literary data and the peculiar venba metre 
which it employs in the sutra style of Sanskrit literature 
of that period afford further proof of the ancient charac- 
ter of the work. 

The genius of Tiruvalluvar consists in having 
produced a treatise on pure ethics which is the common 
property of all religions in the world. The moral code 
that has been presented to us contains ntti gems which 
would serve the world for all time to come. The 
maxims promulgated are of such (universal application 
that they have evoked wide appreciation and approval 
as is seen from English and Latin translations of the 
book. The Rural which claims an age of 2,000 years 
and more is still young and will be young, for it has 
been written for practical application for all time and in 
all places. The beauty of the work lies in its catering 
to the needs and desires of all religionists and creeds. 
Despite any serious and detailed study with regard to the 
religion of Valluvar, it is difficult to arrive at some definite 
conclusion. Rather we are compelled to go back to 


where we started and to remain in a state of doubt 
as to the personal religion of the celebrated author. 
For, every religion including Christianity claims 

Was he a Christian? The followers of Christianity 
identify, 1 without any justification whatever, Elelasinga 
with the apostle St. Thomas, and as Elela is said to be 
the patron of the poet-moralist, it may be that Valluvar also 
embraced the same creed. European Tamil scholars of 
the last century like Fr . Beschi and Pope were specially 
attracted by that incomparable ethical code and rendered 
it in European languages, Latin and English. It may 
be noted in passing that these scholars were mainly 
Christian ecclesiastics. 

Was he a Jaina? It is again argued that he was a 
Jaina. The epithets 2 Malarmisai yekinan, aindavittan 
aravdliyantanan are generally interpreted as denoting 
the Arhat and the philosophical ideas of the arhats. The 
references to Indra and the doctrine of ahimsd are also 
urged in support of the same theory. How slippery is the 
foundation of this theory can be gauged from the follow- 
ing. The expression malarmisai yekinan which means, 'He 
who stands in the human heart/ is nothing more than the 
grand idea expressed in the Bhagauadgita that the 
Lord God 8 is seated in the heart of all creatures. The 
aindavittan is a common idea of the Hindus that he 
who conquered his five senses could become a yogin, 
and attain godhood. The term amvaliyantanan may 
mean the law-giver, the law-administrator, or the law- 
maker. Again, the cult of Indra-worship is again com- 
mon to all sects of Hinduism including Buddhism and 

1 See Studies in Sangam History, Ed. Review, October, 

1 <0>/f<i9*D*Q<u8OT (3) 5/*,je9^xr/rr(26) -vpojrry$ jfisfi*r&r (8.) 

*lvarah sarvabhfitanSm hfddeSS Arjuna titati. 


Jainism. In fact Indra is one of the principal Vedic 
deities invoked in the sacred yajnas. The doctrifl^of 
ahimsa does not^ belong only to the J3,in& cult It is a 
fundamental doctrine of the Ufianisads, the philosophical 
sections of the Vedic literature. As Parimejlalagar 
points out, we have to interpret his sayings broadly, and 
not narrow them down as a sectarian work. At the least it 
is not possible to make out a strong case for its sectarian 

Was he a Buddhist? That he was also a votary of 
Buddhism is again claimed by some scholars whose chief 
argument is based on the section entitled turwu* The 
Kwral 348 is specially quoted as prescribing renunciation 
as the cure for all ills. 2 A corroborative clue is said to be 
afforded by the expression of the same ideas in the Mani- 
mekalai.* But renunciation is the ideal preached in all 
creeds. For example, the same Kuml is quoted as ex- 
pounding a concept of aiva Siddhanta.* 

Was he a Vaisnavite? That he embraced the 
Vaisnava creed and was a devotee of Visnu is proved 
by the first kural venba which finds a parallel in the Glt&* 
where the Lord says that He was the first letter (qr) 
among the letters. 6 In another informing hural-venba more 
light is thrown on this topic. There is a distinct reference 
to the Vaikuntha as the abode of Tamaraik-kannan 
literally the lotus-eyed. The idea in this kural-venba is 
that righteous people, after death find their home in the. 

35, st. 341 ff. 
as against 

* Canto vi, 11. 72-3. 

* See QtB&&eSlirg) being one of the 14 Saiva Siddhanta works, cf. 
footnote, p. 100 of the Kwral, edited by Arumuga Navalar, Eleventh 

1103 of the Rural. 

18 , 


abode of Visnu who is said to be the lotus-eyed. Life 
after death in Vaikuntha is clearly the Vaisnava idea 
and this, when compared with the first verse of prayer 
with which the Kural opens, may lend weight to the 
view that he was a follower of Vaisnavism. 

Was he a Saiva? There are again some kural-venbas 
which go to demonstrate that the author was a Saiva 
by religion. The phrase engunattan 1 is generally quoted 
to show his adherence to Saivism. It is significant to 
note that Saiva saints like Appar and Sundaramurti use 
the very term in their laudatory stanzas on Siva. 
Engumttan simply means the God with eight attributes. 2 
Again the kttral-venba (359) is believed to be the Saiva 
idea as it has been utilized in an accredited &aiva Siddhanta 
work with approval. 8 To this may be added the kural- 
venba (348) which has been fused in another Saiva 
Siddhanta work as we have seen already. 

Conclusion. The examination of the personal religion 
of Valluvar does not give us any definite lead in the 
matter. The fact seems to be that the author, whatever 
his personal religion, did not wish to give his work a 
sectarian character. 4 If we can hazard a conjecture, 
Valluvar who was acquainted with different creeds and 
faiths, took up the best in every creed and thus primarily 
intended to be a moralist rather than a religious teacher. 
The Rural is like the Bhagauadglta which appeals to 

2 For a variant classification of these attributes, the reader is referred to 
the footnotes of the Kural, pp. 7-8, Eleventh Edition. 


8 See Tirukkajirruppatiyar of Tirukka<Javur Uyjravanda-Devanayanar, 
cf. footnote on p. 104 of the Kural 

4 See the learned article of Vidvan R. Raghava Ayyangar in the 
Sen Tamil, vol. i, p. 4, quoted in the introduction to his edMon of the 
by Pan<}it M. Raghava Ayyangar. 


every faith, and which admits of any interpretation 
looked at from any point of view. In fact it is the 
correct estimate of poet Kalladanar who says 'Among 
the six religious creeds, the followers of one creed will 
assert that there is only one eternal thing. The follow- 
ers of a second creed will speak of another thing. The 
followers of the third creed will speak of yet another. 
But it is good that the followers of all creeds accept 
the pronounced prescriptions of Valluvar's muppal. 91 
As has been already indicated, if Parimelalagar's views 
could be adopted, then the author of the Kural must have 
been familiar with Sanskrit literature and especially the 
Dharmasastra and the Arthasastra literature. If this 
position can be accepted, it is reasonable to assume that 
Tiruvalluvar follows mainly in his Amttuppdl the most 
popular Dharmasastra of Manru, in his Porutj>al the well- 
known Arthasastm^i Kautalya, and in his KamqttiipJ>al 
the Kamasutra of Vatsyayana. To these may be added 
portions of the Ramayana and the M&habharata and other 
allied literature. Whether Valluvar's muppal is an in- 
dependent growth or is indebted to Sanskrit literature, 
it is for future research to determine conclusively. As it 
is, there is a remarkable parallelism between the Kwdi 
and the Sanskrit books above referred to. We propose in 
the following pages to give a list of such of the Kural- 
venbas which have a striking correspondence with those 
in the Sanskrit works devoted to subjects like Dharma, 
'Artfaa and Kama. This list does not, however, pretend 
to exha/ust all the corresponding references. 

GffearQpearu &ITJDI &u>ujfipiriTiBiirQpQff 
Qcuuuir 6oe/(5 utfoHuuGa/ Q/ar^a/gp/ 

Tinwall4wam4lai, st 9. 


Sec. V 9 Book I. ARATTUPPAL l 

Coming to the first division of the book Parimelalagar 
classifies it into two sections broadly Illanam or the dhaarma 
pertaining to domestic life and Turavarwn or the 
dharma pertaining to renunciation of the world. There 
is another view that the whole book dealing with arMn 
denotes the four adramas of the Hindu view of life 
brahmacarya, garhaspatya, vanaprasta and $anny&sa. 
The duties of the first two asramas apparently constitute 
the first twenty- four chapters. While the next ten chapters 
(25-34) deal with the duties of the third asmma, the 
following three chapters (35-37) are devoted to the 

The Rural says : 2 

*A, as its first of letters, every speech maintains ; 
The "Primal Deity" is First through all the world's 


The Bhagicwadgita 8 expresses similar ideas : I am 
the letter 'A' among the alphabets, the compound 
among the whole class of compounds; I am the Eternal 
Kala and the Creator of the universe. 
According to the Rural: 41 

'His feet, "Who over the fullblown flower hath 

past," who gain 

In bliss long time shall dwell above this earthly 

1 See Sen Tamil vol. i, p. 245 ff . 

* I have followed Pope's translation of the 

sr <y>ppQp a/e^. (1) 

<4 ^ 

II x. 33. 



The Glta s^aysi 1 Arjura! The Lord lives in the 
heart of all creatures, making all of them move about 
machine-like by Maya. 

The Kwwl says: 2 

'The world its course maintains through life that 

rain unfailing gives; 
Thus rain is known the true ambrosial food of all 

that lives/ 

The Bkagavadglta 8 furnishes a parallel: Man de- 
pends for his existence on food, and the source of food- 
stuffs is rain. 

The Kwral says :* 

'He, who with firmness' curb the five restrains, 
Is seed for soil of yonder happy plains/ 
The Gita* furnishes a parallel: Having restrained 
the five senses and brought them under control and 
having fixed one's mind on me, one attains the divine 

xviii. 61. 

pctffL&ipp Quxssrjp/smffp uirpjpj. (11) 

ir e&pgi. (24) 

ii 61. 


The Kwral says: 1 
'Spotless be thou in mind! This only merits 

virtue's name; 
All else, mere pomp of idle sound, no real worth 

can claim/ 

The Gita 2 has the following: Fearlessness, spotless 
purity, stability of knowledge and yoga, gift, peace of 
mind, sacrifice and learning constitute real tapas. 

The Kural says : 3 

'The men of household virtue, firm in way of good, 

The other orders three that nule professed 


The Manavcdharm&sastra* rules to this effect: As 
the members of the three asramas are maintained by the 
householder every day by jnana and food, the asrama of 
the householder is said to be the best. 
According to the Kural? 

'The manes, God, guests, kindred, self, in due 

These five to cherish well is chiefest charity/ 

1 wesr ft jsns ASCOT to/r&eo 
& GO ff iSp. (34) 


xv. . 

S etiGUfreuir Qearesruir 

iii* 78; see also vi. 


u p&>. (43) 


In the Mawtsmrti* he who does not cherish the 
God, guest, servants, manes and self, is dead though he 
physically lives. 

'As doth the house beseem, she shows her wifely 

As doth her husband's wealth befit, she spends: 

helpmeet is she/ 

The Dharmasastra 3 has the following idea: A 
wife should always be joyous, skilled in domestic duties, 
helpful and economic in expenditure. 
In the Kural 4 it is said : 

'There is no lack within the house, where wife in 

worth excels ; 

There is no luck within the house, where wife 
dishonoured dwells.' 

Manu gives expression to similar sentiments 5 : where 
women are honoured, there the Gods dwell: in the 
houses where they are not honoured, everything done 
becomes fruitless. 

|| iii. 72. 

u&ssrpp&s u>/rftrL/8DL_(U efftrQppp QstremrL-rrear 


|| Manu, v. 150. 

ur u>irgy>* sea*-. (53) 


| tfl 56; sec also iac. 26. 


Theism/says: 1 

'Of what avail is watch and ward? 
Honour's a woman's safest guard.' 
Similar ideas are found in the Mana^adharmasdstra:^ 
those women who are bound by restraints by her own 
devoted kinsmen are not truly protected* those who 
guard themselves are well protected. 

The Rural says : 8 

'If wife be wholly true to him who gained her as 

his bride, 
Great glory gains she in the world where gods in 

bliss abide.' 

Manu furnishes ,a parallel: 4 she who will not abuse 
her rights either by mind, speech or body, attains the 
world of pativmtas and is styled sadhm or the good by 
the righteous. 

The Rural says : 5 

'Though food of immortality should crown the 

Feasting alone, the guests without unfed, is thing 


X QfflLJUJ tLS&ftlT 

B> struQu pteo. (57) 

(SB) ' 

n > I 

-ql-^cl n v. 165. 




Similar ideas are found in the Dhar maf&strtf : A 
householder is to partake of the food remaining after he 
has fed the gods, sages, guests, manes, and household 
deities. He who prepares food for the sake of self, 
simply eats the sin. 

'Pleasant words are words with all-pervading love 

that burn; 
Words from his guileless mouth who can the very 

truth discern/ 

The same ideas occur in M\(musmrti* Speak the 
truth, speak pleasant things. Do not speak unpleasant 
and false words: speak pleasant and truthful words. 
This is sandtwna dharma. 

According to the K^r\al :* 

'Control of self does man conduct to bliss th' im- 

mortals share ; 
Indulgence leads to deepest night, and leaves him 



|| Manu iii, 117. 
id. } 118. 

See also Ibid., 106. 

2 {jfiesrQfrretirr e$ff u&ti u uif-fSetiOJir 
Q&ti>Qurr0&r sewn KIT eurriLff Qfrreti. (91) 


u>. (121) 


Manu says 1 that indulgence of sense organs leads to 
evil without doubt: having controlled them, one 
attains salvation. 

Again the K wnal rules : 8 

* 'Though he forget, the Brahman may regain his 

Vedic lore; 

Failing in "decorum due/' birthright's gone for 

In the laws of Manu/ it is said that a Brahman who is 
devoid of decorum will not attain the fruits of the study 
of the Vedas. On the other hand, one who observes 
decorum will reap the full reward. 

The Kural prescribes : 4 
'How great soe'er they be, what gain have they 

of life, 
Who, not a whit reflecting, seek a neighbour's 


Manu's remarks 5 are appropriate : There is no other 
thing which results in diminution of life than the fact of 
a person's criminal intimacy with his neighbour's wife. 

3 flRlf *RTt ftffifc fnM^fit I ii- 93. 
8 u>pUiSl@pi (cLonr^D* Qf/raretf/rgjLo u/r/fuu/rcsr 

i$puQuir(i$&6isi (gesrps Qsu>. (134) 
8 ^HKlftl^dl ftjft 5T ^H*<^ I 

i. 109. 

ertittrpjpfossnu ffiruSgp Qwar^is 
esr tSpeafie* L/^). (144) 

iv 134. 


Inthe/fwro/: 1 

'Like tortoise, who the five restrains 
In one, through seven worlds bliss obtains/ 

The Bhagaiwdglta says 2 that as a tortoise will 
restrain all limbs into itself, he who would restrain his 
senses willl attain wisdom. 

The &Mf a/ rules: 3 

'Let men relieve the wasting hunger men endure; 
For treasure gained thus finds he treasure-house 


The M&nauadharmasastr^ rules to this effect: 
One must not eat oneself without feeding first the guest; 
Feeding of the guests leads to wealth, health, fame and 

The RuwF asks : 

We eat the slain* you say, 'by us no living crea- 

tures die'; 
Who'd kill and sell, I pray, if none came there the 

flesh to buy? 

QLDLDITU LjGDL-pg). (126) 


XRTT ^Rifear || ii 58. 

frofi/L/ y$. (226) 


|| iii. 106. 

d. (256) 


Manu says: 1 He who approves of the killing of an 
animal, who preserves the slaughtered body, who kills it, 
who buys it and sells it, who cooks it, and who serves it, 
and who makes a meal of it are to be termed 'killers'. 

The Rural says : 2 

'With other beings' ulcerous wounds their hunger 

may appease; 
If this they felt, desire to eat must surely cease/ 

According to Manu, 3 having learnt the origin of flesh 
(meat) and the killing of creatures, one will refrain from 
taking any kind of meat. 

The Kural prescribes :* 

'Than thousand rich oblations, with libations rare, 
Better the flesh of slaughtered beings not to 

Manu's ruling 5 is similar : he who would perform a 
hundred AfvMmedh sacrifices year after year and he 
who would refrain from flesh-eating are equal so far the 
attainment of fruits is concerned. 

: II v. 51. 

ru> L/e\)/r jqe 
L/wrwr gieaeriTGiirTiTU Quf&ear. (257) 

, v. 49, && 52. 

jjeSQfirifliv pnufiffu) GeuiLL-eS Q^drp 
70r8>u> isesrjp. (259) 

SJff : I 

ti v. 53. 


' says: 

'Who gains himself in utter self-control, 
Him worships every other living soul/ 
In Manu, 2 one should endeavour day and night to 
conquer the senses; and one who conquers his senses is 
able to have all people under his control. 

'Every lamp is not a lamp in wise men's sight : 
That 's the lamp with truth's pure radiance 


In the Glta : 4 The Yogi controlled, self engaged, 
in meditation, is likened to a lamp that is still in a 
windless place. 

According to Valluvar : 5 

'Who had a loathed life in bodies sorely pained, 
Are men, the wise declare, by guilt of slaughter 


In the laws of Manu 6 it is said that he who causes 
the killing of prohibited animals for his own happiness, 

fT pirearpu uptyssr tuesrtu 
?a>a>/r/ QpirQfut. (268) 


|| vii. 44. 

3 6ra)60/r eSetragu) eS&rsae^eo 
Qumuturr eS&rsQs eS&r^s^. (299) 


: || vl 19. 

&eorrpf euirpsms UUQJIT. (330) 

6 tsf^TOft 3j{nl ft*ttC*4(w^-^*il I 

v. 45. 


is considered to be dead, though living, for he never 
attains happiness. 
Valluvar says: 1 

'Death is sinking into slumbers deep; 
Birth again is waking out of sleep/ 
The Bhagtwadglta* furnishes a parallel : There is 
certain death to one who is born, and there is certain 
birth to one dead. 


Parimelalagar makes a three-fold classification of the 
second section of the Kwpal. He divides it into kingship, 3 
elements of sovereignty 4 and common diuties. 5 This 
section consists of seventy chapters on the whole ; and of 
these, twenty-five chapters deal with kingship and king. 
.The next ten chapters ending with the title avaianjamai 
deal with the ministry. Chapters 74-8 are devoted to 
P<mU according to one view, while the succeeding five 
chapters are concerned with friendship. Twelve chap- 
ters from the eighty- fourth chapter come according to 
the same authority, under the category of tunbaviyal* 

TheKural says: 7 

'An army, people, wealth, a minister, friends, fort : 

six things 
Who owns them all, a lion lives amid the kings/ 


j snr *RT 

II Cf - Man - vi. 53. 


Set Sen Tamil vol. i, p. 245. 


GfffffQ Qvrjp* (381) 


The Arthatastrtf prescribes: the king, minister, 
territory, fort, treasury, army, friends constitute the 
elements of a State. ... He who possesses these and 
who follows the righteous policy is able to conquer the 
whole earth and is never defeated. 

According to the KuraF 

'A king is he who treasure gains, stores up, 

And duly for his kingdom's weal expends/ 

The Kamandaka nitisdra* furnishes a parallel : 

The four-fold functions of the king are to acquire 
wealth by equitable means, to preserve it, to augment 
it and then expend it on the deserving. 

What the Kurd? prescribes : 

'Gifts, grace, right sceptre, care of people's weal: 
These four a light of dreaded kings reveal/ 
is corroborated by the Kamandaki:* 

Pleasant speech, grace, gifts, protection of the poor 

Bk. vi. 1. cf . Kamandaka. i, 18. 
. (385) 


* Qeun>pfr& Qstr&fl. (390) 

i- 2. 


and the distressed, and association with men of 
character are recognized by the world as the right 

The prescription of the Kwal is :* 

'So learn that you may full and faultless learning 

Then in obedience meet to lessons learnt 


According to the Arthasastra, 2 sciences should 
be studied under qualified teachers and their precepts 
duly followed. , . . Discipline is the fruit of learn- 

In the Kwr\al* it is said : 

Wealth of wealth is wealth acquired by ear 

attent : 
Wealth mid all wealth supremely excellent/ 

The K\autallya* says: Hearing opens the door to 
knowledge, knowledge to right action, and right action 
to knowledge of one's self. This is what constitutes 

pa Q)pp<5JS ps. (391) 


f^RTT fa*Hfci ... || Bk. i 5. 


. (411) 

Bk. i, dt Y. 


fio says : 

The wise discern, the foolish fail to see, 
And minds prepare for things about to be/ 

In the Arthasastm* he who possesses the eye of 
knowledge and science, is able to discern the true thing 
with a little effort. 

According to the Rural: 9 

'As friends the men who virtue know, and riper 

wisdom share, 

Their worth weighed well, the king should choose 
with care/ 

The prescription of Bharadvaja 4 is that companions 
whose honesty and skill have been put to satisfactory 
tests shall be appointed ministers. 

The Rural* asks: 

'What power can work his fall, who faithful 

Employs, that thunder out reproaches when he 


fftrsu ppeuir 
ff0/S a)a)/r pauir. (427) 


Bk. ix, ch. i. 

ffjo Qprnsg) Q<srrerr&). (441) 

IH*4^lC^ $ 

Ar. Sts. Bk. i. 8. 




The Arthaf&strc? prescribes that a king should select 
such ministers whose loyalty has been tried and who 
would protect him from risks involving danger to life. 
The Kuroif prescribes: 

4 With chosen friends deliberate; next use thy pri- 
vate thought; 
Then act. By those who thus proceed all works 

with ease are wrought/ 

'Plan and perform no work that others may despise ; 
What misbeseems a king the world will not 

approve as wise/ 

The Arthafastra* says: All undertakings are to be 
preceded by mantra or counsel. . . . Let the king review 
the works with the ministers present. . . . That which 
gives fruition and is advocated by the best men must be 

It is the opinion of Valluvar: 4 
The force the strife demands, the force he owns, 

the force of foes, 

The force of friends : these should he weigh ere 
to the war he goes/ 

Bk. i. 8. 

2 Qprfitp eSeerpQpir QpJTisQpCBiressFlf Qviueunrrs 
effjpi u&eo. (462) 

etQeuemGlK 0u>Qu>/r 
Qfir&r&rir &&<*>. (470) 

Bk. i. IS. 
4$faro{!ii{* j* carareri/it/ uxtpty** 

&. (471) 


On this Kautalya 1 observes: The conquering 
monarch shall acquaint himself with the comparative 
strength and weakness, of himself and of his enemy in 
regard to power, place, time, season for march, season 
for recruiting the army, consequential advantages and 
difficulties arising from anger, diminution and loss, and 
decide on expedition if he would feel assured of superio- 
rity in his force. 

The title of the Chapter XLVIII in the Rural, 

vlz *9 6u<&uj/8fie equates with srfrf^rR^ of the Kmtallya, 
Bk. ix, ch. i . 

'Who know what can be wrought, with knowledge 

of the means, on this 
Their mind firm set, go forth, nought goes with 

them amiss. (472) 

Who daring climbs, and would himself upraise 
Beyond the branch's tip, with life the forfeit pays. 

, (476) 

'With knowledge of the measure due, as virtue 

bids you, give ! 

That is the way to guard your wealth, and seemly 
live.' (477) 

Bk. ix, ch. i. 

2 90)0; ffBeu 

e*. (472) 

eSu>. (476) 


The K&utaliytf says : The power of mantra is better. 
The king who possesses the eye of sastraic knowledge 
can press his knowledge into service even with little 
effort. He can over-reach the enemy with enthusiasm 
and power by means of conciliation, and application of 
strategic means. In this way success is due to enthusi- 
asm, power and force of mantra in the ascending order. 

The title of the Chapter XLIX of the Rural, * /r a> 
Le/fl^cb corresponds to the 4i<4M of the Kautallya, 
Bk. ix, ch. i.i 

According to the author of the Kwr&l : 2 
'A crow will conquer owl in broad daylight ; 
The king that foes would crush, needs fitting 

time to fight. 

'The bond binds fortune fast is ordered effort made 
Strictly observant still of favouring season's aid/ 
Says the Kmtaliya:* That season is best which is 
suited to the manoeuvre of one's own army and unsuited 

Bk. ix, ch. i. 



. (482) 


, Bk. ix, ch. i. 


to one's enemy. The reverse is the worst. The ordinary 
season is the middling one. 

Time alone is better* say some. For on this 
account the crow kills the owl in the day and the owl the 
crow in the night. 

The title of the Chapter (L) in the Kuwl 
is a translation of the term ^[Rrra of the Kaut\allya 
Arthasastra Bk. ix, ch. i . 

The KMral 1 prescribes: 

'' en weak ones mightily prevail, if place of strong 

They find, protect themselves, and work their 

foes offence. 
The foes who thought to triumph, find their 

thoughts were vain, 
If hosts advance, seize vantage ground, and 

thence the fight maintain/ 

According to the Arthasastra 2 'one should endeavour 
the means to increase the strength of one's own force. 
That desa is the best which is the ground for the manoeuvre 
of one's own army but disadvantageous to the enemy. 
Otherwise it is the worst. That which is common is 
neither best nor worst/ 

QurrpfBe QfuS&r. (493) 
Qaemcear uSipuu rflL- 

Q*u$car. (494) 

Bk. ix. dh. 1. 


According to the Rural: 1 
The crocodile prevails in its own flow of water wide, 

If this it leaves, 'tis slain by any thing beside/ 
'Save their own fearless might they need no other 

If in right place they fight, all due provision 

The jackal slays, in miry paths of foot-betraying 

The elephant of fearless eye and tusks transfixing 

armed men/ 

In the Artkasastm* it is said : 
The ground is better/ some say. On this account 
the dog on the ground can overreach even a crocodile, 
and the crocodile in the low ground the dog. 

Thus we come .across similar ideas both in the 
Arthasastra and the Rural. While the Arthatastra has 
dealt in one chapter all the three means of sakti 3 , desa* 
and kala, 5 the Rural devotes three separate chapters of 
ten kural-venbas each. 

The Chapters LI and LII of the Rural entitled 
' Opting QpaRpet ' and ' QpiRi*& eBSssrajirL-eo ' are 
identical with a chapter in the Artfaasastra 

dp. (495) 

BT. (497) 

i setrrfl eorifltuQas sesoresor 

Bk. ix. ch. 1. 



According to the Rural: 1 

'How treats he virtue, wealth and pleasure? How, 

when life's at stake, 
Comports himself? This four-fold test of man will 

full assurance make.' 

Says Kautalya : 2 The ministers shall be tested by the 
upadhas which are in the nature of temptations. 
These are of four kinds, the temptation of virtue, wealth, 
lust and fear. 

The Rural 3 has the following: 

4 Trust where you have not tried, doubt of a friend 

to feel, 
Once trusted, wounds inflict that nought can 


The Arthasastra* says : The acdrya>s have prescribed 
that the king should appoint government servants in 
their respective posts after the four-fold test and accord- 
ing to the satisfaction afforded by such test. 


j Qppu u<&2> (501) 

Bk. i, ch. 10. 

3 Qpfftresr QpetfiajB Qjaf&fiis^irfars ^essr^p^ 
ffffr e$Lbeo)u pgu). (510) 

I render* this Kural venba thus: ' Having put one to the four- fold-test of 
dhartna, wealth, pleasure and fear, a selection must be made/ There is 
a learned gloss of Parimelalagar on this. 

4 fali+i<W3Wt+uc e l!V ^5 ^**& I 

in|t I! Bk. t, ch. 10. 


What the Kuraf rules: 
'As each man's special aptitude is known, 
Bid each man make that special work his own/ 
'Let king search out his servants' deeds each day; 
When these do right, the world goes rightly on 

its way* 

is corroborated by the Kautaliya? 

Those who have come out successful from the 
dharmopadha are to be appointed as judges and 
commissioners, from the wihopadha to offices of 
treasurer and collector-general, from the kdmopadha 
to guarding frontiers, harem and sporting grounds, and 
from the bhayopadha, in the king's household. 

Those who have gone through the four ordeals are 
to be chosen as ministers. 

Having thus chosen his servants by the four-fold 
tests, the king shall endeavour through his spies to get 
at their loyalty or otherwise . 

d. (518) 
u^eerarear eSfarrQf ujsurr&r 
. (520) 

'CRfl TP <iPifiiJ || Bk. i, ch. x, 


The ruling of the KwraP is as follows: 

"This man, this work shalt thus work out", let 

thoughtful king command; 

Then leave the matter wholly in his servant's hand 
Kamandaka says : 3 

He whose capacity is too well known for a parti- 
cular job is appointed to it, just like the different senses 
which are employed to perceive particular objects. 

'Search out, to no one favour show, with heart 

that justice loves, 
Consult, then act; this is the rule that right 


the Ramayana* furnishes a parallel: If the punish- 
ment accorded to the offenders is meted out according 
to the laws of the land, it leads the monarch to heaven. 
The KuraP observes : 

'Learning and virtue of the sages spring, 
From all-controlling sceptre of the king/ 

^. (517) 
3 <ra ft Pi 4 

II v. 75. 

3 % I 
qzrfcT qrfifo* || vii. 79. 9. 

Cf, Apastamba ii. 5 f ii. 3 

v. (543) 


According to, the Arthatastra: 1 

That state which is disciplined by the established 
laws of the Aryas, which is rooted in the organization of 
castes and orders, and which is protected by the three 
Vedas, progresses and never deteriorates. 

'Where king, who righteous law regards, the 

sceptre wields, 
There fall the showers, there rich abundance 

crowns the fields/ 
a parallel is furnished in the Raniayana : 3 

The fields are rich with crops, the rains shower in 
proper seasons, and the soldiers are free from disease 
during Satrughna's rule. 
Similar to the Kural : 4 
Whose rod from right deflects, who counsel doth 


At once his wealth and people utterly shall lose/ 
the lawgiver rules : 

That king who allows the kingdom to deteriorate 
owing to sheer neglect and lethargy will soon fall from 
his position and life with all his relatives. 6 

ft ^fe3t ^fa: VUikftt ?T tffcfct || Bk, i. 3. 

eor&rGH (OT)L!L> 
^. (545) 

om i 

II vii. 70. 10. 

QftLuj LOB*. (554) 

5 til^iftNi ^ro^ T* w*KM^tflhT i 

\\ Manu, vii. Ill, 


To \he Rural: 1 

'Where giuardian guardeth not, udder of kinc 

grows dry, 

And Brahman's sacred lore will all forgotten lie/ 
the Mahftbfo&rvta* furnishes a parallel : 

When dandcmiti is given a death-blow and when the 
ancient raj&dharma of the ksatriyas becomes lost, the 
sacred, lore gets extinct, as also all the dharmas including 
those dharmas pertaining to the afnamas. 
To the ruling of the Rural: 9 

Tor length of days with still increasing joys on 

heaven who call, 
Should raise the rod with bow severe, but let it 

gently fall/ 
Miami 4 furnishes a parallel : 

The king should be harsh and mild according to 
the nature of the work. He endears himself to the 
people, being harsh and soft. 
The Rural says : 5 

'Who builds no fort whence he may foe defy, 
In time of war shall fear and swiftly die/ 

asr srrajrr Qearsoflenr. (500) 


fell: ^j: 

| SSnti. ch. 112. 28. 

9 *iQpiTff& OtDeoeo QeupSs 
&B*rroDu> QGJ&OT UQJIT. (562) 

T: n vii. 140. 

Qf@ui*fi Qurrp^fb QGDpQffiLtui 
a>. (569) 


Manu 1 gives expression to similar sentiments: 

The enemies do not wrong those resident in for- 
tresses, as they do not attack the king who shelters 
under a fort. 

The Chapter LIX in the Kmfal entitled ppqyi_i* can 

be equated with the title JJ^!Jt$l*4Rr: the eleventh 
chapter of Book I of the Arthasastna. While the latter 
prescribes sending caras to the eighteen departments 
of the State as well as the enemy, the friend and the 
neutral, the Rural chapter is apparently concerned with 
the enemy, the neutral and the ally. 
In the RwfaP it is said : 

'As monk or devotee, through every hindrance 

making way, 
A spy, whatever men do, must watchful mind 


A spy must search each hidden matter out, 
And full report must render, free from doubt. 
Spying by spies, the things they tell, 
To test by other spies is well. 
One spy must not another see : contrive it so ; 
And things by three confirmed as tnuth you know/ 

. n Manu vii. 73. 

/r/r uSpiBjgrrffirtLiB 

pgu. (586) 

i^)&)Qp Qiurrp&i. (587) 
fi fi*fi QuirQfpeirui u>ps> 
Qrtrrpfl* Q*ir<xr&. (588) 

fftres>u> tuir&rs a/L 
Qf&u uu>. (589) 


The Arthasastrtf has the following: 

The king shall send fraudulent and ascetic spies 
who have been tried for their loyalty and skill. 

The class of officers who went by the name of 
tlksanas ascertained their outward conduct. The satri 
spies carried this information to the district quarters. 
The residential officers therein made it known to the head- 
quarters through signs and cipher writings. This is to be 
done without the knowledge of the respective samstti&s. 
If the information is corroborated by three independent 
sources, it is taken to be confirmed. 

In the KuraP : 

These two: the code renowned, and spies, 
In these let king confide as eyes/ 

The Kamandakl* says : 

A king should get at the movements of the adver- 
sary through the medium of his cautious and secret 
spies. That king one of whose eyes is cam or the spy 
is awake even in sleep. 

+ + + 


(peoffffrresrp jprgy 

ear* ueorcorsuesr sever. (581) 


: I Ar. $&s., Bk. i, ch. 11 and 12. 

in. 29. 


According to the Rural :* 
'Let indolence, the death of effort, die, 
If you'd uphold your household's dignity. 
His family decays, and faults unheeded thrive, 
Who, sunk in sloth, for noble objects doth not 

The Gl ta* gives similar ideas : 

Know, oh Bharata, inertia born of ignorance and 
the deluder of all beings, is bound by sloth, indolence 
and sleep. 

The Kumf says: 

'He seeks not joy, to sorrow man is born, he 

Such man will walk unharmed by touch of human 


Who pain as pleasure takes, he shall acquire 
The bliss to which his foes in vain aspire/ 

<$f UJ/T* G?/ror UQIIT. (602) 

LJ(5(5 fl 

7s<, (604) 

GltA xiv. 

M***u Qpjpfi eSetfsr. (628) 


The GitS 1 says similarly : 

You grieve for things not fit to be grieved for and 
yet indulge in wise sayings. The wise never grieve 
either for the living or for the dead. 

He who sees his self in everything and looks upon 
pleasure and pain equally, is a perfect Yogi. 
The Kural 2 defines the minister thus: 

'A minister is he who grasps, with wisdom large, 
Means, time, work's mode and functions rare 

he must discharge.' 

The Arthatastm? says 'the ministers shall engage in 
the following five duties : commencing a work, finding out 
resources, fixing it according to place and time, protect- 
ing against possible dangers, and final consummation. 
The* prescribes : 

'Speaking out your speech, when once 'tis past 

That none can utter speech that shall your speech 

Charming each hearer's ear, of others' words to 

seize the sense, 
Is method wise of men of spotless excellence/ 

5TT 5*3 * qWt TORt TO: || vi 32. 

T&,Qj)<Q GfUUGD8lL]@ Of 

iz>/rJ^L_ pGDtoP*. (631) 

Bk. i. IS. 
4 Qeireo&s Qfir&teuu iSfDQprrfrQftr ete 

ffiBgj. (645) 

&e&u i$pnQ&rrp uiLicar 
ar u>ir*p(yn Qttrar, (646) 


A good illustration of this maxim is found in the 
Mdtobh&rato.* Here when the kingdom is threatened 
with an invasion, the king goes to the country and begs 
for war loans and benevolences by speaking out in sweet, 
soft and convincing style. 

What the KuraF says : 

"Though toil and trouble face thee, firm resolve 

hold fast, 

And do the deeds that pleasure yield at last. 
The world desires not men of every power 


Who powers in act desire not, crown of all the rest', 
is expressed in other words by the Bhagcwadgita:* 

'Do not get vexed. This is unbecoming of one like 
yourself. Give up the detestable weakness of the heart 
and gird up, oh slayer of foes/ 



II Santi, 88, 26, 34. 




I i. 3, cp. iv, 20, 


The prescription of the Kumf is as follows : 

'Benevolence, high birth, the courtesy kings 

love : 

These qualities the envoy of a king approve. 
Love, knowledge, power of chosen words, three 


Should he possess who speaks the words of kings. 
Mighty in lore amongst the learned must he be, 
Midst jav'lin-bearing kings who speaks the 

words of victory. 

Sense, goodly grace, and knowledge exquisite, 
Who hath these three for envoy's task is fit/ 
Similar ideas are expressed by the law-giver: 2 

The king shall appoint him an ambassador who is 
versed in all sciences, who can read the gestures and 
signs, pure, skilled, of noble family. 

That 'ambassador, who is loyal, honest, intelligent of 
excellent memory, who acts according to time and place, 
of good physique, bold and possessed of good powers 
of speech is applauded. 

UUrrar L/ftOTLf. (681) 

jjearufS eurrffmuvfi Qeiretiojearmu* 

QeOTfR lUGOLDtLHTfi {Lp&T&l. (682) 

QajfarfS eSMeBriLjGtDffLJUrTeBr UWTL/. (683) 
jy/z9ey() G>jn-ffmLn0 *&)$uS!d) {tpearpebr 
Q*/z9a/eoi_(Lr,r0r Qf&s cSVearaQ. (684) 

TOT: TO*q || Manu. vii, 63-64. 


'In term concise, avoiding wrathful speech, who 

utters pleasant word, 

An envoy he who gains advantage for his lord. 
An envoy meet is he, well-learned, of fearless eye, 
Who speaks right home, prepared for each emergency/ 
In the Arihadastra : 2 

The message is to be delivered in toto, even at the 
cost of life. . . . When questioned by the enemy king 
as to the strength of the lord's forces, pretend ignorance 
and simply say, 'you know better' ! 
Again in the Kwral: 3 

'Integrity, resources, soul determined, truth- 

fulness ; 
Who rightly speaks his message moist these marks 


His faltering lips must utter no unworthy thing, 
Who stands, with steady eye, to speak the man- 

dates of his king. 

Death to the faithful one his embassy may bring : 
The envoy gains assured advantage for his king/ 

utuuujgirts fugs. (685) 

TiB jprgi. (686) 

2 www ^ fjfas *^ I Mi u nn^sfr ra + 

i Ar. s<u., Bk. i, 16. 

/. (688) 

Q eve fibs <etoffuunesr 
&}fnuQ&irff/r Qj&rs esorGJGsr. (689) 


The Rdjanitiratndkaw? quotes Sukra : 

The ambassador, though a mleccha, shall not be 

Hence the ditto is the king's eye. Even when the 
arms are raised aloft in the act of striking him, he should 
faithfully deliver his message. 

From the words of the data who would think of his 
own defects and of the enemy's strength ? For the dilta 
speaks always anything he thinks. 
To theKwrul: 2 

'Say not "He's young, my kinsman," despising 

thus your king; 

But reverence the glory kingly state doth bring,' 
the following 3 may be parallel : 

'A king should not be despised even though a 
child. He is a great divinity in the form of a man.' 
In the Kural 4 it is said : 

'We've gained his grace, boots nought what 
graceless acts we do'. 

: *nt ff sreufcf I p. 46. 

&pirir (&BT/D 
>, (698) 

^jjfcre* I 

|| Manu. vii, 8. 

LQ WIT. (699) 
. (700) 


So deem not sages who the changeless vision view. 
Who think "we're ancient friends," and do un- 
seemly things; 

To these familiarity sure ruin brings. 
Similar ideas are found in the following discussion 
in the Arthatastra:* 

Says Bharadvaja : 'the king shall appoint as his 
ministers his classmates as he would have understood 
their honesty and tact. They could be easily trusted/ 
'No/ says Visalaksa, 'as playmates they would not respect 
him. He shall therefore appoint those whose secrets are 
well known to him. Possessed of conduct and defects in 
common with the king these do not entertain harm to him 
lest their secrets should be divulged/ This is very com- 
mon' says Parasara 'for the king may follow them in their 
good and bad actions lest his own secrets be divulged/ 
The KuraP defines: 

'Where spreads fertility unfailing, where resides a 


Of virtuous men, and those of ample wealth, call 
that a "fond". 

Bk. i, ch. 8. 

2 ^cfror/r eStianygfs pssrr@is prrpeSedirffi 
Qeireujp KIT. (731) 
etrrrp QuiLt** pir& 
. (732) 


That is a "land" which men desire for wealth's 

abundant share, 
Yielding rich increase, where calamities are rare.' 

Baudhayana 1 says: 'A righteous man shall seek to 
dwell in a village where fuel, water, fodder, sacred fuel, 
Iwsa grass, and garlands are plentiful, access to which 
is easy, where many rich people dwell, which abounds in 
ind/ustrious people and where Aryans form the majority, 
and which is not easily entered by robbers/ 

What the Kwnal says : 2 

'Waters from rains and springs, a mountain near, 

and waters thence; 

These make a land, with fortress' sure defence', 
is also mentioned by the KctMtallya. 3 

The fortresses of rivers and mountains are sources 
of defence to the country parts. 

Chapter 74 entitled vrtB of the Kwwl corre- 
sponds roughly to the chapter on ^RCf^ftet?? o f the 
Arfhasastm, Bk. ii, 1 . 

Chapter 75 entitled jyjranr of the Kural corre- 
sponds roughly to the chapter on ^713 in the Artha- 
, Bk. ii, 3 . 

II, iii, 51. 
S. B. E., vol. xiv, pp. 243-4. 


y* (737) 
4MM4KWIMJI I Ar. tos., Bk. ii, 3. 


What the KuruF says : 
'Nothing exists, save wealth, that can 
Change man of nought to worthy man/ 
is thus explained in the Ramdyana. 2 

To a man of wealth, there are friends, and relatives. 
He is the worthy man of the world, and becomes a 
pandita. He is a man of prowess and wisdom. He is a 
great man of good qualities. 
What the Rural says:" 
'Who plenteous store of glorious wealth have 


By them the other two are easily obtained/ 
is explained thus by Vatsyayana: 4 

Between wealth and kingdom, wealth is superior. 
Through the means of wealth, lokayatra and kdma are 
realized. This is the position of the Trivarga. 

eoeuenffu Oufr^^irs^ QftLnLju> 
r. (751) 

: it 

Yuddha. ch. 83, 35, 36 
3 ^sArQurdjerr ^TLpilu efuupfSuJiriTS 
Q&r&vr uSfffnr Qu>trQtsi<. (760) 

4 n 

Ktona&W, Bk I. U f 15-17. 
Cf. 4r. 5^., Bk. viii. 3; cp. C&wkya Rfijanlti Stepa**, iv. 21. 

~ 175 

In the Kur&l it is said: 1 
'With stronger than thyself, turn from the strife 


With weaker shun not, rather court the fray.* 
Kautalya 2 prescribes : Court agreement of peace with 
equal and superior foes. Fight with the weaker. 

According to the KMral : 3 

'Women of double minds, strong drink, and dice : 

to these giv'n o'er, 
Are those on whom the light of Fortune shines no 


In the Arthasastna:* 

Public censure and loss of wealth are due to Kama. 
. . . Kama comprises hunting, gambling, women and 
drinking. . 

In the chapter on the Purmavyasanavarga, Kautalya 
refers to the four-fold vice under the category of 
Kama. These are hunting, gambling, women and 
drinking. The effects of these evil habits are discussed 
in detail. Tiruvalluvar, on the other hand, devotes two 
chapters on the vyasanas of women (91 and 92), one 

uen*. (861) 

2 W*u4l*ti S?^3 | ^T ft^<p(tol<t I Bk. vii, 3. 

3 @)(5u>6STL/ Qufwrif (5 sen-(G$tEj ssujpii 

F/rL./rL/. (920) 

+ + + 

II Bk. via, 3. 


chapter on drinking (93), and one chapter on gambling 
(94) . Apparently the author of the Kurd does not 
treat hunting as such a vice as the other three. In fact 
hunting is recognized as a valuable form of exercise to 
kings by Kalidasa in his Sakuxntiala. Nor is Kautalya 
unaware of its beneficial effects. 


There are two views with regard to this particular 
section. One is that Valluvar gives expression to purely 
Tamil aspect of Kama. According to this the whole 
can be conveniently divided into Kalaviyal and Karpiyal, 
and these again are based on the five tinais peculiar to 
the Tamils. But the celebrated commentator of the 
Kwpal would again find correspondences between this 
treatment of the subject and that in Sanskrit literature. 
According to that authority Kalaviyal and Karpiyal 
correspond to the samyoga and vipr&lambha of the 
Kamfftsutra treatises. In the Karpiyal section again 
Parimelalagar would find corresponding terms for the 
different incidents like selavu (Sans.=pravasa), arrdmai 
(Sans.=viraga), vidkuppu (Sans.=ayogam), and pul&vi 
(Sans.=manam). The Sanskritists add the fifth incident 
f&pa. As this is quite uncommon, says the commentator, 
Valluvar did not include it in his treatment of the 
subject While the chapter (116) pirivarramai is devoted 
to Selaiutot the chapters (117-26) deal with the arr&mai. 
Vichcppu is dealt with in three chapters (127-9), 
while the last' four chapters (130-33) are devoted to the 
incident of 



THE ancient Tamils whose culture and civilization 
were of no mean order had developed a wonderful system 
of polity, having very much in common with the North 
Indian polity, though in some respects strikingly original 
as we shall see in the sequel. There were organized 
political and administrative institutions which contri- 
buted much to the realization of the m\uppal or three 
objects of life and the maintenance of orderliness of the 
society at large, technically known in Sanskrit literature 
as the lokayatra. But the development of this vast politi- 
cal machinery was the result of gradual growth extending 
over several centuries. By a slow process of evolution 
the simple organization of a patriarchy, developed itself 
into a complex organization with a strong central govern- 
ment and local institutions as is evident from the Tiruk- 
kuraland then into the wider organization of an empire of 
a confederate type with small states forming auxiliaries 
to it, a feature of the age of the twin epics the Silap- 
padikarum and the Manimehalai. In other words we 
mark three chronological epochs in the story of this 
South Indian polity. These are the epoch of prehis- 
torical times, the epoch of the Timkk^ral and the epoch 
of the twin epics above referred to, answering roughly to 
an age before the fourth century B.C., the age between 
the fourth century and the first century B.C., and lastly 
the period covering the early centuries of the Christian 
era, j^proximately from the first to the fifth century. 



The chief source of information for this period is the 
great grammatical work, the Tolkappiyam. Though the 
Tvlk&ppiytm can be roughly taken to be a composition of 
the fourth century B.C., yet most of the materials which 
the work treats of are much older and hence valuable 
in reconstructing the ancient history of South India. 
South India, in prehistorical days, was peopled by a 
number of tribes, of whom five could be distinguished 
according to the geographical classification of the 
soil 1 the agriculturists, the pastoralists, the hunters, the 
people of the seashore and those of the desert. When 
these tribes began to settle down permanently on the soil, 
the need arose for some sort of organization. The family 
organization then led to the formation of a tribal organi- 
zation of a patriarchal character. The Tamil social 
organization which had its distinctive characteristics born 
of environment, as anthropography holds, is unique in 
having realized the five different stages of human life in 
prehistoric times. But this social organization left its 
impress especially on the mullai (pastoral) and the 
mwudam (agricultural) regions. Here the organization 
of the tribe was a settled fact. Single families led to 
joint families and these being welded together, became a 
stable organization of the whole tribe. When society 
became definitely organized and with an increase in its 
numerical strength, the neighbouring regions were 
encroached upon, the territory became expanded in 
course of time. The tribal chief who was the soldier 
and the judge rolled into one, became the territorial 
head, namely, the king. 

The evolution of the status of the tribal chief to the 
h$ad of the kingdom is then clearly seen in the regions 

l Sec P, T. Srlniv&sa Ayyangar, The Stone Age 4 p. 37, 


of the nuillM and the marwlam. The king is designated 
among other names by kd or kon meaning a cowherd. 
To the latter cattle was wealth, and the division of pro- 
perty among the sons was the division of the heads of 
cattle belonging to the family. We know that one form of 
wealth in earliest times was cattle. Therefore by the 
term kon is meant that chief, whose wealth was cattle. 
This assumption is corroborated by the Kalittogrti 1 
wherein the origin of the dynasty of the Pandyan kings 
can probably be traced to the headship of the ayar tribe, 
the community of the cowherds in the marud&m region. 
The same circumstances favoured the evolution of the 
institution of monarchy in the agricultural region. 
Agriculture was the mainstay of the people and catered 


'The cowherd community which sprang up by the side of the ancient 
family of the Pantfyan King. ' 

(Mullaikkali 104, 11. 4-6.) 

efieSeti ^i^UiS eufl^sgj^ tu/nu^u), Ibid. 105, 1. 7 
'The great tribe of the Qyars? who came after the ancient family of the 

Here nallinam refers to go of Sanskrit literature and nallinatt&yar means 
cowherds. There is another word pulhnam prefixed to the ayars where it 
refers to the low castes among that community, those engaged in tending 
sheep and goats according to the commentator on the stanzas 107 and 110. 
A noteworthy point in this connection is the metaphorical stanza addressed 
to the king Parantaka Pancjyan 

0)0)g2fu> QunQiLT 

quoted in the Peruntogai (&94)(Sen Tamil.) 

'Though the hand which once drove the kd (cattle) with a stick, now 
holds the lance, it has not given up the driving of kd, (Hence though 
ParSntaka has become the king, will he be bereft of the inborn qualities 
of a Gdpala (tender of cattle, protector of kings)'? 

This verse can also be rendered as denoting the divinity of the king 
as an avattir of Lord Visnuv 


largely to the wants of the society. In an age when 
theft was rife and nomad adventurers were occupying 
the neighbouring hill, forests and desert tracts, the pro- 
tection of farming and farmers necessitated the institution 
of kingship. It is reasonable to assume that the early 
king performed the same functions as those of the tribal 
chieftain. He was the warrior and judge. From the 
section on the Purattinaiyiyal of the Poruladikaram 
we are in a position to glean details as regards the art of 
war as practised in ancient Tamil India. Otherwise 
the Tolkappiyam does not very much help us in deter- 
mining the functions or rights pertaining to the king of 
much earlier days, though it makes a distinct mention of 
the three kings, the Cola, Cera and the Pandya. In fact the 
institution of kingship was still in an undeveloped stage, 
whose functions were not yet enlarged, the king being 
primarily engaged in love and partly in war. Possibly 
he took part in the public and cnude sacrifices in honour 
of the ancient deities like Velan, Mayon, and the several 
tutelary deities among whom were goddesses also. Again 
whenever hostilities broke out, he led the host in war 
and showed much heroic valour in the contest. We 
do not go here into the details of warfare which depend- 
ed on the five tinais, as these are discussed in a later 
chapter on the Art of War. Thus, then, there were 
various forces at work which brought up the genesis of a 
society from the scattered crumbs of tribal systems. 
Society expanded itself and a division of classes was 
distinguished based on profession in one and the same 
region. There were kings, noblemen, agriculturists, 
traders, labourers and servants. When social institutions 
began to stay in the land, the necessity for a leader 
resulted in the birth of the Kingship which virtually 
represented the state. 



In the age to which Tolkappiyanar belonged, 
Aryan ideas and ideals had penetrated South India 
and had influenced a good deal the Tamil culture. For 
the Tolkappiyam refers to the four-fold classification of 
castes, arasar (Ksatriyas),antomr (Brahmanas),*aw'&r 
(merchants) and velalar (agriculturists). 1 The Velalas 
became in their turn divided into two classes, the higher 
and the lower. It is significant to note that the term 
Sudra is not to be found in this grammatical work. 
The petty chiefs or the Kurunilamannar generally belong- 
ed to the Velala community. 2 According to Naccinark- 
kiniyar these Velalas had marital relations with royal 
families, served as army commanders and were chieftains 
of smaller kingdoms. This social democracy of a simpler 
type was disturbed by a socio-religious institution with 
the consequence 3 that a complex social organization set 
in. The result of all this was that the office of kingship 
grew in power and extent. Much dignity was attached 
to that institution. The king was hedged in with divi- 
nity. In the sutras of the Tolkappiyam* we are intro- 
duced to two tnrais, among others belonging to the 
category of the seven finals called \unnanllal 5 and 
puvainilai* According to the first the king is compar- 
ed to the sacred tree unnam, and this comparison is 
generally to that conquering monarch who would not re- 
treat from the field of action. That a certain amount of 
sanctity was attached to this tree is obvious from the 
fortieth stanza in the PadirrMppatPu. Again according 

iPorul SUtra, 75. 
*Se n Tamil, vol. ft p. 366. 
*Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture, p. 20, 
* 60 & 76 



to the second turai mentioned above, the king is further 
compared to m&ydn or God Visnu, thus showing the 
sacredness of the king's person. He is a member of 
the Ksatriya community whose duties to the state are 
five in number -, 1 teaching, performing sacrifices, gifts, 
protection and the award of punishment. This is more in 
accordance with the ruling of the Mdnavadharmas&stra. 

Whether the kingship was hereditary or elective, we 
cannot determine with any definiteness from the mate- 
rials available. That the choice of a king depended 
on the goodwill of the citizens at large is evident from a 
turai of the seven tinais entitled pillaiydtfpu*. 2 When a 
prince of the blood-royal offered a bold front in the battle 
and secured victory, the people celebrated his success 
with festivities and crowned him king. From the sutra 
76) it can be gathered that there was the institution of a 
Court of Justice where elders sat in judgment on the 
cases brought before them. Only duly qualified persons 
became members. Born of a noble family, learned, of 
good character, truthful, honest, impartial, pure and un- 
.avaricious were the members of this court. 3 

The same sutra contains evidence of -another fact of 
great importance. This was the relinquishing of the 
throne called kattti. It seems that after having ruled 
the kingdom according to the established laws of 
the land satisfactorily and well, the king used to relin- 
quish his office in the evening of his life, to lead a life of 
-penance and prayer. This fact of abdication is also a 
'feature of the North Indian polity. We know even in 
the historical period that Candragupta Maurya and Asoka 
abdicated the throne with the same object. 

Or&ytcd, p. 129, 


The TirukkHfQl marks a definite stage in the evolution 
of Tamil political institutions. The kingdom has ex- 
panded and the social organization has become more and 
more complex in character. Direct personal rule of the king 
could no longer be effective or efficient ; and a devolution 
of functions became imperative. The functions of the 
Central Government and its relations with the Iqcal Gov- 
ernment came to be defined. The character of the central 
organization to be found in the Rural was such as 'weld- 
ed the local organizations for local purposes into one 
unity which might be the state of those times. The local 
organizations were certainly of a democratic character, 
and rested for certain purposes on the communal basis. 
The devolution of power was complete. The central 
organization had merely the control of local administra- 
tion, the maintenance of peace and order in the country 
and providing for defence against external enemies/ 1 
The end of the State, according to Valluvar, was der gesell- 
schaftliche cultur zweck. In other words the State wed- 
ded itself to the promotion of the material and moral 
welfare of the people. The means to this end was the) 
realization of the trivarga or the muppal, constituting '^ 
dharma, artha and kama. This was incumbent on the 
king as well as his siubjects. The king was to adhere to / 
the path of virtue in acquiring wealth and enjoying sense- * 
pleasure. Qyer-indulgence in any one of these three 
aims of life would lead to^ rack and, ruin. Hence the 
king is warned to adopt a middle course in the realiza- 
tion of the principle of trivarga. The political maxims 
are largely swayed by moral and ethical considerations. 
Expediency is relegated to a subordinate place as it is 

* S. K, Ayyangar: Some Contributions of 5.7. to Ind, Cfffteff, p. 402. 


a questionable means of realizing the state-ends, proxi- 
mate and ultimate. 

The idea that the State is an organism (sapt&ngam 
r&jyam as described in the Manav^hwmatastra* and 
in the ArthoA&strd)? is also that of Valluvar .as is borne 
out by the Kural. A state is a seven-limbed kingdom. 
The ministry, fortifications, territory, allies, the army, 
and the treasury are the six limbs. These together with 
the king make oip the kingdom or the state. The chief 
constituent element of a state is its territory. Territory 
implies a definitely-marked area of land well-suited for 
human habitation and rich in resources on account of its 
fertility. It is such as will yield an unfailing supply of 
food-stuffs, and conduce to the healthy existence of the 
people and cattle. To keep this territory safe and secure, 
strong defensive works are indispensable. One efficient 
system of ancient defences was by means of impregnable 
fortresses. In those days when marauders and highway- 
robbers infested the land, life and property were not 
safe, unless the king of the land was strong in arms 
and possessed a good fort. 8 The king lived invariably 
in a well-fortified palace, called koyil. The king's seat 
was known as kattil. He was surrounded by his coun- 
cillors and ministers, besides his personal servants. 
When the king gave public audience in the Hall of 
State, both nobles and common people were present. 
There were bards who sang his benevolent acts and 
warlike deeds. There were heralds (ahcw>ar) who pro- 
claimed his greatness and walkivar who published his 
orders and proclamations. 4 

The king. The king, according to the Kural, must be 
one who possesses the following characteristics : courage, 

* ix. 264-6. Bk. vi, sec. 1. 

* Set the chapter on the Art of War, See Prc-Aryo* CWftr** p. 33, 


liberality, knowledge and energy. He must endeavour 
to establish virtue (aram) and eliminate vice. While 
maintaining strict discipline, the king must rule the land 
with grace and love. He should increase his treasure to 
be expended on the state, and he must be easily accessible 
to every citizen. He should speak pleasant words and 
defend the realm with strict justice. 1 He should be 
well versed in the right kind of learning which would 
make him well disciplined in body and mind. 2 An 
unlearned king could not play any useful part in the 
Council. 3 Hence he should endeavour to feed his ears 
with rare and learned teachings. 4 He should anticipate 
and provide against dangers that might overtake the 
kingdom and himself, and prepare to face them boldly 
and rightly. 5 He should appoint devoted and qualified 
men to be his companions and counsellors and in previous 
consultation with them make up his mind and act. 8 
The counsellors are the eyes of the king and hence 
good companionship is an asset. 7 Says the Kural 

'With chosen friends deliberate; next use their 
private thought; (judgment) 

Then act. By those who thus proceed all works 

with ease are wrought/ 8 

The king must not undertake any work rashly. He 
should carefully weigh the amount of expenditure it 
would involve, and also the return from such expendi- 
ture. He should plan his expeditions, without the enemy 
getting the least scent of them. 9 In such undertakings, 
the strength or otherwise of one's own power, the 
suitability of the time and of the place must be taken 

s, 382-8. * Ibid., 391 . 

*Ibid., 405. * Ibid., 413. 

Ibid., 429-36. Ibtd. f ch. adv. 

459. /dW., 462, 



well into consideration, 1 SuktidesakalabcMb&lam of the 

The appointment of all the important officers of the 
State must, in the first instance, be made by subjecting 
the candidates to severe tests by means of the four 
upadhas dkarma, artha, kdma and bhaya. Only after 
having thus been fully satisfied with a man's honesty and 
loyalty the king should entrust him with an important 
work. The government servant shall endeavour to 
promote the arts of peace and try to avert whatever would 
hinder real progress. Even after the appointment, he 
shall find out by means of special commissioners whether 
each officer conducts himself well in his place. 2 The 
king must wield a just sceptre by awarding condign 
punishments to real offenders. When the king rules 
according to the established laws of the land, then alone 
will the kingdom be blessed with seasonal and unfailing 
showers, and the earth yield in abundance. A despotic 
king, on the other hand, who is not accessible to his 
subjects, who consults not his counsellors and who is 
not impartial in dealing out punishments, will lose the 
confidence of his people and be ruined. 3 Hence after 
proper investigation and trial the case should be decided 
on its merits. In all his acts and deeds the king must be 
energetic and ever active. He must display the quality of 
uttkana which Kautalya so much values in a monarch. 4 

The minister. The next limb of the State is the 
ministry. The responsibilities of the minister are great. 
He must be learned and should discharge his functions 
according to the means, time, and place. He must be 
firm in his resolution and never tired of strenuous effort. 
Before any final decision is arrived at, a minister should 

l, ch. xlviii, xlix and 1. *Ibid., ch. li, lii, 

Ibid., ch- Iv, Ivi, * Ibid., ck be, 


deeply ponder over its different aspects. He should 
pursue the path of dharnia, and give counsel according 
to circumstances. Mere theoretical knowledge would 
not do, but what is wanted is common sense in practical 
application. He must speak nothing but the truth, 
even though it should be unpleasant to the king. He 
is a bad minister who would secretly plot against the 
ruler. 1 ; ! " 

Further, he must speak pleasantly, but rightly and 
only good things. There must be power in his speech 
as on it depends the success or failure of the Govern- 
ment. What is more needed is purity in action 2 and 
power in action. 3 The minister should endeavour to 
overcome all obstacles in the way of progress and should 
persevere in this course until success is achieved. He 
should deal promptly with work on hand as also with the 
foreign enemy. Neglect and delay may spell ruin. He 
should never act on his own judgment, but take the 
advice of experts in the accomplishment of every task.* 

There was the Council Chamber called wai where the 
ministers of the state met and discussed the problems 
affecting the state. The dutas or ambassadors and the 
officers of the Intelligence Department who belonged to 
the category of spies were also drafted from the minis- 
terial class. The several functions and powers of these 
officers are dealt with in the next chapter on the Art of 
War. It is said that he is a weak member who has no 
experience of the Council. Though an eloquent member 
would carry the Council with him, still to the words of a 
learned member grown grey in experience, great value 
was attached. Selfless men would discern the attitude 
of the members and try to convince them with their 

, ch. Ixiv. 

. t eh lxv-l*viii , 


discourse. One should not be afraid of the Council and 
should pursue a middle path. A bold and strong line 
should always be taken. 1 

Other elements of State. The other elements of the 
State are then discussed. The State must possess a 
considerable territory. It must be fertile and filled 
with righteous men. It must yield an unfailing supply 
of foodstuffs and be free from disease and famine. 
According to Valluvar an ideal territory is to be 
healthy, fertile, pleasant, well-defended and wealthy. 2 
The proper territory is that which is defended by fortifi- 
cations against the disturbers of peace. The uses of 
the fortress and the methods of its construction are dealt 
with in the next chapter. 3 The fifth element of the state 
is the Treasury. A king should aim at a well-filled trea- 
sury. Wealth is said to be the unfailing lamp of a state. 
It must be got by righteous means. Crooked ways of earn- 
ing wealth are condemned. Wealth is the sure source 
of strength to a state, and indispensable to the realization 
of the other two aims of life dharwa and kama. 4 

The sixth element of the kingdom is the Army. The 
full host endowed with martial spirit and determined to 
conquer the foe is the treasure of treasures to a state. 
Valhivar seems to advocate an hereditary army. A well- 
disciplined army is not afraid of the horrors of war, but 
squarely faces them to save the country's honour and 
glory. But the success of an army largely depends on 
its leaders. He is a true hero who shows unflinching 
courage in the field of action, and considers that day 
wasted in which he does not receive a wound. Heroic 
death in the field of battle is the shortest road to 
heaven. : ' r 

ch. IxxU-lxxiii. * Ibid., chL 

See ch. vi of this book, 4 tfro/, ch. bcxvi, 


The last element of the State is the Ally. It is hard 
to find true friendship. The chief characteristics of friend- 
ship are thus stated : 

'Friendship from ruin saves, in way of virtue 

In troublous time, it weeps with him who 

weeps/ 1 

One must thoroughly investigate the character and 
conduct of a man before making his friendship. The 
Kural commends old and faithful friends who will stand 
by one to the end in weal or woe. 2 In chapter Ixxxii 
and the following, Valjuvar condemns false friendship, 
feigned alliance, and such other time-serving alliances. 
The above examination of the elements of sovereignty 
would appear to show the author's familiarity with the 
saptanga system of Sanskrit literature. 

From the Kingdom to an Empire. We have so far 
dealt with the political theories which were prevalent in 
ancient Tamil land, and the political ideas and ideals 
that could be gleaned from the Tolkappiyam and the 
Kwral. Let us now turn our attention to other works of 
the Sangam period, especially the two epics from which 
the institutions mentioned above appear to have been in 
regular working order at that period. The tribal chief- 
tain has grown into an imperial ruler. Permanent 
elements of political life are found in big States enjoying 
independence. A new outlook in politics has come into 
being. The independent ruler aims at a paramount 
position of overlordship. In the various odes of the 
Puram and the Aham, in the Padirruppatty* and in the 
twin epics, we have clear indications of this struggle for 

787, 2 /ta*., 809, 


overlordship. In other words, fired with the lust of con- 
quest and imperialistic ideas, the several powerful chief- 
tains engaged in wars with their neighbours and either 
annexed their kingdoms by defeating them or created 
vassal states. Some of them even extended their arms to 
the far distant north as far as the Himalayas. 1 The great 
Cola king Karikalan may be said to be the father of this 
imperialistic movement. 2 This thirst for universal rule 
manifested itself in the ambition of the Colas, Pandyas, 
and the Ceras to realize the organic unity so far as it 
related to political life. One form of suzerainty was to 
wear a garland of seven crowns. This was claimed as 
a matter of right by a powerful monarch of the Cera 
line. 8 The real authority was glorified, and even 
became deified. 

The Character of the Kingship. The kingship was 
generally hereditary, 4 though there was also the system 
of election which seems to have been of a formal kind. 
The king was a constitutional monarch. He ruled the 
land according to the well-established laws of the realm. 
There was then the anointment ceremony, known as 
mmnumangalam, the abhiseha of Sanskrit literature. The 
kings realized the evil effects of tyrannical rule as well as 
the beneficent results of just rule. The Manimekalai 
gives us a graphic description of a tyrant's reign. 

If the king did swerve from the righteous path, 
The planets all would change their course ; 

If the planets errant turn, 
Would dearth of rain surely ensure ; 

If dearth of rain there were, 
Nothing on earth would then survive. 

*$ilap. t canto v, 11. 89-94. *Ibid., 11. 95-110. 

*Padiffu. 14 and its comment: Silap., canto xxviii, 1. 169. 
4 <y**P(y>fi &** * Stiap. canto xxvii, 1. 134. 


There would then be no room for saying, 
That he who rules as king on earth 
Should regard as his own the life of each 
living thing. 1 

The characteristics of a just ruler as can be gathered 
from an ode are to stand heroically in the field of battle 
and not to harass the retreating enemy, to have only 
one wife for queen, to appoint learned and impartial 
judges and award just punishment, and to cement oneself 
with the bond of friendship. 2 

The Conduct of the Princes. One noteworthy feature 
of this just rule is the conduct of the king towards the 
princes. Only good and well-behaved sons of the king 
were anointed as crown princes and were shown due 
regard and honour. Refractory sons were severely 
dealt with. There is the semi-legendary story of 
Maimnitikandacolan who had his son crushed under 
the wheels of a chariot for having unwittingly let his 
vehicle run over a calf, for which its mother, the cow 
pleaded for justice by approaching the palace and 
ringing the bell of justice with its horns. 3 Other 
instances are not lacking. Kopperun-Colan is said to 


sr (y<$u>. Mani vii. 11. 8-12. 

p&f GsrQeo <sr>(5*. Kali, 8. 1-3. Cf. Puram, 22, 71. 
2 See the Purctm 71, attributed to the king 

j> Qufleo* 



have banished his two sons out of the kingdom. 1 
Tittan the Cola king at Uraiyur had his only son Peru- 
Narkilli banished. 2 According to the ManimSkalai, 
when Killivalavan heard his only son Udayakumaran 
was slain by one Vinjaiyan (Vidyadhara) for having 
attempted to commit adultery, he rejoiced at the 
punishment awarded to him. 3 

Abdication. It was also, at that time, a custom for 
the reigning monarch to abdicate the throne at a certain 
age and take to a Me oi penance or ticve wnafrostka 
asrnma. It is said that Kopperun-Colan relinquished the 
coveted honours pertaining to the crown and took to 
penance. 4 The usual method was that the reigning 
chieftain nominated his successor, subject of course, to 
ratification later on, by the Council and the Assembly. 

Interregnum. Sometimes it happened that a king 
suddenly died and no successor was nominated. This 
would result in a period of interregnum. There is 
a graphic but metaphorical picture of such an interreg- 
num in the Silappadikaram* Bereft of the metaphor 
the following is the substance of the passage: 
Like the stranger chief who, in disquiet times 

When the land is sorely troubled, bereft 
Of her sovereign lord, with none beside 

To .ascend the vacant throne and to guard her 
With his powerful force, swooping down 

Stays to harass the unhappy land 
Leaving loyal subjects to weep and wail, 

Lawless evil-doers to wax in crime. 
This means an interregnum resulted in disorder and 
anarchy, the matsyanyaya of the Sanskrit political litera- 

Pr<iw, 213. */Wd v 80. a Canto xxii, 11. 205-13. 

*., 214. /Wd., iv. 11. 1-26. 


ture. The lesser chieftains throw off the yoke of allegi- 
ance and attempt to assert their independence. In the 
confusion that ensues, there is no security for person and 
property. But it does not necessarily lead to the 
subversion of law ,and order. If the administrative 
machinery is efficient, the government goes on smoothly 
uninterrupted by the state of arajaka or kinglessness. For 
example, when the Paridyan king was suddenly struck dead 
by the curse of the pious Kannaki, there was no disorder 
and it would appear that the Council of ministers 
carried on the administration until a successor was 
elected. 1 

Peculiar method of election. If there was a contest 
about the succession, and if the claimants to the throne 
were more than one, decision was arrived at by the 
peculiar method of getting the State elephant to choose 
and garland the right person. In the commentary on the 
P\alamoli 2 the commentator narrates an interesting story. 
Once, when the ruler of the Cola country died childless, 
a dispute arose as to the succession to the throne. It 
became a great source of anxiety to the ministry who 
resolved on the above-mentioned peculiar method of 
election. Having blind-folded the eyes of the State 
elephant, they let loose the animal with the resolution to 
crown as king whomsoever it brought on its back. It is 
said that this elephant passed through many places and 
came at last to Karuvur. Here it took Karikarcolan on 
its back and returned to Kalumalam. Karikalan was then 
anointed king. 

p., canto xxvii, 11. 132-8. 
mQ$u>ti)p jStutrpp 

fmrt-ir rf^> jytffj?. (62) 


The Pwdhita. Some of the kings had become so 
much Aryanized that they performed the yajnas incumbent 
on the Ksatriya monarchs. One part of the name of 
a king goes by the name of the sacrifice itself Raja- 
suyamvetta-perunarkilli. 1 It is said that Palyanaiccel- 
kelukuttuvan, brother of Nedunceralatan and son of 
Udiyanceral performed ten yajfias besides feeding the 
guests on a lavish scale. 2 The fact that sacrifices 
were offered by the kings who caused sacrifices to be 
performed by the Brahmanas shows, beyond doubt, 
that these kings became Ksatriyas and adopted the 
duties of a Ksatriya ruler as prescribed in the Dharma- 
siitrns. There is a reference in the Puram ( 166) to a yajna 
performed by a Brahmana Vinnandayan (Visnudasan) 
of Pufijarrur. These and other references to the 
Vedic sacrifices 3 point to a system of social polity marked 
by the growing influence of sacerdotalism. In other 
words the Pwosu ( San. purohita) or the State chaplain 
plays a significant role in the administration. The con- 
quering monarch had trust in his own military prowess, but 
looked to the priest for a moral sanction of his action and 
a formal recognition of his deeds. Sacerdotalism incul- 
cated obedience and discipline and led to the permanence 
of allegiance so long as the king preserved law and order 
according to the customs of the land. This is in other 
words a healthy combination of sastra (arms) and sdstra 
(science), which ultimately leads to the happy consum- 
mation, in the words of the KoMtallya Arthatastra. What 
the Arthasastra rules is that sheer prowess is of 
no avail, as also sheer intellect. Prowess tempered by 
intellect often leads to siuccess. Such a State progresses, 
never degenerates. 

367. 2 See PalamoU 316. Silap. xxviii, 11. 137-8. 

*Puram, 15, 26, 166 and 224. 


From the term wmaiccu which can be translated as 
ministry, it is inferable that the Purohita was a member 
of the ministry. Amaiccu is derived from amaiccan, 
the Tamilized form of the Sanskrit word amatya. We 
have definite references from the Padirmppattw to 
the Purohita of kings like Palyanaiccelkelukuttuvan 
and Selvakkadungon. The name of the Purohita of 
Celkelukuttuvan is mentioned as Nediumbaratayanar 
(Sans, the great Bharadvaja) . It is said that having 
learnt that his Purohita was getting ready to go to 
the forests for penance, the king set out before him. 1 
The other reference is in the piadibam of the Seventh 
Ten. Here the phrase Pur dm mayakki occurs. In 
addressing the king Selvakkadungon, the poet says 
that he is more dharmaic and learned than his own 

It is not difficult to ascertain what the chief func- 
tions expected of the royal priest were. The first was 
to aid the king in the performance of sacrifices. Next, 
he seconded all the king's undertakings, whether civil or 
military, by means of prayers and incantations. Thirdly, 
it was his duty to forestall and avert all dangers provi- 
dential or otherwise. We know of the case of the Cera 
king Yanaikkat-cey whose death within seven days from 
the fall of the dhiimaketu, the fatal star, was predicted by 
the astrologer. Nor were his functions purely religious. He 
advised the king also in matters of general administrative 

Some Royal Amusements. Hunting was a favourite 
amusement. It was a common pastime with the hill- 
tribes as well as nobles. In ancient India whether to the 
North of the Vindhya or the South, hunting was a 

Hi.* Padikam, 


favourite pastime with the kings and was regarded as 
an effective physical exercise. 1 Hunting expeditions 
are also referred to in the Kautallya Arthasastra as 
a source of amusement. Bows and arrows were the chief 
arms used in hunting, and dogs were also employed by 
these hunters. 2 

Under the category of amusements may be mentioned 
residence at the summer resort of the king. The king lived 
generally in a well-fortified city. But his life was not 
confined to the palace. He often resorted to what 
can now be called a pleasure residence, ilavandi- 
haippalli? It would appear that this residence of the 
king was situated in the midst of an ideal park, furnished 
with various mechanical contrivances to be fused at the 
pleasure of the king. The chief among these was to 
get air and water, wherever desired. It was also known 
as nlrfyimcwdapam* chiefly used by kings during sum- 
mer. From the colophon to the odes 5 of the Pwrwm it 
is seen that Pandyan Nanmaran and Colan Nalari- 
killi-setcenni had each such a pleasure residence. It 
is also said that the Pandyan Nanmaran died in that 

The king no mtocrat. Though much importance 
was attached to the king's person and the kingly insti- 
tution, still the king was no autocrat. He could not be 
absolute in the circumstances in which he was placed. 
His power was so limited by a system of checks and 
balances, the Council, the Purohita and public opinion, 
that he dared not misuse his rights. We have evidence 

1 See Kali data's verse in the Sakunfala on the effects of hunting. 
Sec Perumpav&rruppafai, 11. 117-29. 


55 and 61, 


in practice of the paternal principle so sacred to the 
Kaupaliya Artfaat&stra and eloquently echoed by the 
Edicts of Asoka. 1 The real motive underlying the 
grand conception is that the king looked upon his 
subjects as his children. Just as a father would 
care for the good and welfare of the children, so also the 
king is expected to bestow his attention on the progress 
of his State. In the course of his address to the Cera 
king Olvat-kopperunjeral-irumporai 2 the poet Nariverau- 
ttalaiyar says: 'Do not be guided by the advice of 
those who are devoid of love and sympathy and who 
hence court hell as their future abode. Protect your 
kingdom as you would your child. It will endow 
you with a choice gift which is indeed rare and 
invaluable/ 8 

Thus the ancient rulers of the Tamil land were law- 
abiding and benevolent. They were actuated by the 
welfare of the people, and they so conducted themselves 
as to win the love and esteem of all their subjects. 
When they felt they had done a wrong, they did not 
hesitate to call for and submit to the proper punishment. 
When the Pandyan king came to know of the unjust 
execution of Kovalan, his heart at once broke, and he 
died of irreparable grief. 4 Again in the course of his 
night-rounds round the city, one Pandyan king for creat- 
ing suspicion in a Brahmana of Korkai that he went to his 

1 Bk. ii. 1 : separate Kalihga Edicts. 



} Qupecgei ($a>fffQf t 

5, 11 5-9. 

*Silop t canto xx, 11. 77-8. 


house for committing adultery with his wife, out off his 
hand as a fitting punishment, and leaving it on the front 
verandah of the house, returned to, his palace. 1 These are 
two out of many examples to show how the ancient 
kings loved to pursue the path of \aram or righteousness, 
and whenever they erred they courted voluntary punish- 
ment according to the rules laid down in the dharma nuf 
as well as the art ha niil. 3 Perhaps the nill which Tiru- 
valluvar refers to is some Artkasastra or Dharmasastra 
or both. The king* who was versed in such sciences 
based his administration and policy on the rules laid 
down; and so long as he conducted the ship of the State 
with that policy, success was ensured, as also life in 
heaven after death. 4 

Daily Programme. It would appear that a pro- 
gramme of work was marked out, according to which the 
king was expected to spend the day and the night. We 
have no information, however, of the respective division 
into periods with separate functions allocated to each, as 
there is in the Arthasdstra. 5 From the P\uram anthology, 
we are enabled to see that the day at least, perhaps also 
the night, was divided into three periods, each of four 
hours. During the day from 6 to 10 a.m. the king was 
engaged in religious and spiritual exercises. From 
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. he was probably seated in the Durbar 
Hall surrounded by his courtiers, when he dispensed 
justice. The last four hours of the day were perhaps 
given to meeting the learned poets and awarding pre- 
sents to them. The night, excepting the time devoted to 
rest, amusement, and sleep, was spent in pondering over 

li 102, Silap, katfarai, xxiii, 11. 42-52. 
, 34 and the gloss of the 15th. 
8 Ibid., 166 see the gloss. 


other State business, perhaps with regard to enemy and 
military operation. 1 

Duties \and Rights of Kings. The concept of 
wwpp&lj the special feature of the Ktmxl is further deve- 
loped in the Sangam works and the aim of the State is 
said to be the realization of these three ends of life. 
The king should control the government with the advice 
of his loyal ministers. 2 He should again endeavour 
to follow the established law and not swerve in the least 
from it 8 But in the administration* of the law of the 
land, the king should be guided by knowledge (arivu) 
and love (anbu)* The implication is that the king 
should possess a full knowledge of the Sastras, and in 
enunciating his policy he should use that knowledge, 
tempered, of course, by the noble quality of kindly 
sympathy. For example, he is asked to put up with the 

r Qfu>u>rr&) 


(Pr<*n, 366, 11. 11-15.) 
(See also the commentary on the Pttfaw, 69.) 
, 74. 

Ibid., 2, 11. 17-19, 
Hbid., 2. 



iurrS aSeoQettrir 

Ibid., 55, H 13-17. 


enemy's acts of omission and commission in the first 
instance. 1 But the same ode says that, if the enemy 
should persist in the same course taking advantage of 
his leniency, he ought to be curbed effectively. In 
other words, one must not be provocative. 2 Another 
ancient ode says that the monarch should be heroic like 
the siun, loving like the moon and large-hearted like the 
rains. He must speak sweet words, at once pleasing 
and convincing. At the same time he should give a 
patient hearing to what his subjects might bring to his 
notice. This means that the audience of His Majesty 
was to be open to all, irrespective of their social status 
and rank.* In fact the institution of kingship is 
deemed so important that it is said that the king is the 
soul of the world. The king should realize this in the 
discharge of his duties. 4 A beautiful ode 5 says that it is 
not rice that gives us life nor the waters, but it is the 
king who endows the world with life. The king ensures 
security by the exercise of his danda. 

The chief functions of the king may then be categori- 
cally stated. They were, first, to defend the land against 
invading enemies and to offer protection to his subjects. 
In defending the State, the king was to prevent the enemy 
from crossing the boundary limits. But when once the 
enemy was in, the monarch should show prowess in the 
field 'and achieve full measure of success in the action with 
or without the help of an ally. The ally who sincerely 
lent a helping hand was to be applauded. 6 Such conquest 

2. /Wd., 55. 

*/<*., 35 and 40. * Ibid., 86. 

5 Q*eO& 


L.<?BT. Pur am, 186. 
rf., 190and239. 


enables the conquering monarch to aim at the dig-vipaya 
by leading his army round the world to earn an everlasting 
name both in thitr and in the other world. 1 It has been 
generally the ruling passion of Hindu monarchs who 
aimed at suzerain power. There is an inscription of 
the Gupta Emperor Sanuidragupta which is to the same 
effect; rajadhirajalh prthvlm avajitya divam jayati. 

This conquest was righteous conquest of anus, the 
dkarma vij\aya of the Arthasastra and of the inscriptions 
of Asoka, and the <ar>appor of Tamil literature. 2 The next 
duty of the king was to keep law and order. He was to 
earn money by righteous methods and distribute it 
among the poets and the deserving. 8 He should protect 
the poor and the helpless. He was to take particular 
interest in the promotion of agriculture and commerce. 4 
That these two were an index of a nation's prosperity 
is testified to by the Miadifraikkafici. 5 We know 
Nedunceralatan as patron of trade and agriculture. 
The idea is that only when the ruler walks in the 
path of dharma, there will be seasonal rains, good 
crops, and the people will stand rooted in svadharma, 
each discharging the duties expected of him by the 
society at large. 6 Besides, the king engaged himself in 
certain avowed religious observances. Of these the 
performance of Vedic sacrifices was the most important. 7 
According to the belief of those times, that king who 
performed such sacrifices found a place in the kingdom of 
Indra. Again he was to award gifts, but not to receive any. 

, 31 and 225. * Ibid t 9 and 62. 

9 Ibid., 184 and 239. *Tb*d , 35; Padim*, 13, 11. 23-4. 

*., canto i, 11. 33-4. 7 Puram, 26, sec 



This receiving of gifts by a monarch, it may be noted in 
passing, is severely condemned by the Dharmafftstms. It 
seems to have been a common notion that the ruler of 
the land could give, but not take. 1 To advert to what we 
have already said, a righteous king who lived to a ripe 
old age, abdicated the throne and went to the forests 
to do penance and prayer. 2 

To make his administration a success and to win 
eternal fame for himself the king is enjoined by the 
Arthasastra not to indulge in many vices of which the 
chief are four. These are hunting, women, drinking 
and gambling. 3 According to an old stanza quoted by 
the commentator of the Purappomil venbamalai, the king 
is asked to avoid the seven vices. 4 These 'are hunting, 
harsh speech, torture, gambling, covetousness, drinking, 
and sexual commerce (kamv)* 

Hunting is not generally condemned as it would 
produce a salutary effect, mental and physical. 6 Neither 
sexual pleasures nor drinking is totally disallowed. 7 In an 
ode it is said that anger which is worse than lust will vanish 
before the sparkling face of the devoted queen. 8 There 
are numerous references to the custom of taking liquor 
and sharing it with worthy guests. For example, Avvaiyar 

, 239, 11. 8-9 
*Ibid., 217, 251-2. 
8 Bk. viii, 3. 
Cf. ix, p. 37. 


The same stanza is quoted by Parimelajagar in the commentary on the 

a}-*W>* f 566. 

Cf. Purvm, 152. 

*Cf. Kfiiwmdaki, xiv, 21-6, 43-61. 

P*? owr, 6, 


was offered wine by the chieftain Adigaman. 1 Gam- 
bling also was in vogue. The gambling instrument 
is known as nay. It was commonly done in the public 
hall of the village or city. 2 It appears that this was a 
hobby not only with the royal chieftains, but also with 
learned Brahmanas. Sometimes both the prince and the 
Brahmana engaged themselves in it. We have a classical 
instance of Mavalattan, brother of Nalankilli engaged in 
gambling with the Brahmana Kannan. 8 We shall con- 
clude this section by quoting an informing verse of the 
Pumpporul venbamalai. 4 In this stanza the poet puts in a 
nut-shell what is expected of a true king. It runs, 'Oh 
king, you have taken possession of the battlefield having 
/understood the two (good action and bad action) by the 
one (knowledge atma) ; you have controlled the three 
(ally, enemy and neutral: or the three-fold sakti, pnabhu, 
utsaha and mantra} and have conquered the four-fold 
division of the army (or the four means of sama, dana, 
bheda and danda). May Your Majesty, the conqueror of 
the world surrounded on all sides by the ocean, live long 
and happy, having overcome the five (five senses) 
expanded the six (the six limbs of sovereignty or the 
sadgunyamY and avoided the seven (vices)'. 

1 See supra, pp. 66-7; cf. Puram, 56. 
*Pur<*m, 52. 
*Ibid., 43. 

. (225) 

5 An old stanza quoted by the commentator runs thus: 

The Sanskrit parallel may be: 

T*:y' J ^'i II 

'Arthatistra, Bk, vii, ch. L 



A group of eighteen officials. The remark has been 
already made 1 that the king's policy was controlled by 
a system of checks and balances, of which the Council 
was the chief factor. The Pingcdandw, which, though 
comparatively a late work, is valuable as transmitting 
ancient Tamil tradition, makes the significant remark 
that a king was surrounded by eighteen different 
kinds of officials who aided him largely in carry- 
ing on the government. 2 These included the five consti- 
tuents of the Council the mantrin, the purdhifa, the 
senapati, the dilha, and the com, the group of eight 
officials the Superintendent of the Accounts, the Head 
of the Executive, the Officer of the Treasury, the Cham- 
berlain, the Representatives of the citizens, the 
Commander, the elephant-warriors, and horse-warriors, 8 
and another group of five Intimate friends, Brahmanas, 
Cooks, Physicians and Astrologers. 4 

The last five are said to be the Uriiticcurram* 
The first five are said to be nwMitiroccMrrtim* 
The two technical terms in this connection are aim- 
perunkulu and enper&yam. These terms occur jointly and 
severally in different places in the Sangam literature. 7 
The term kwhi is only another term for dyam. 

1 See mpra, p. 196. 

2 In the p&yiram of the Eltidi, one of the works belonging to the category 
of the Kllkkanvkku an old commentator explains the term Afundhar 
( JHpuBir&air) in the introductory verse ais the twenty-four officials and 
departments connected with the administration of the kingdom. Of these 
twenty-four, the same eighteen are given and the other six are the six 
limbs of sovereignty mentioned by the author of the Rural. 

*See Divdkaram; also Tamil Lexicon, vol. i, pt. iii, p. 520 
4 See the Pingalmdai, ch. v, 44-7. 

*Mani., xxviii, 1. 184. 

vSOat., Hi, 126 v, 157; xxvi. 38; Mo*i, 1. 17; Perunkatai ii. 5, 6; 
*., 13, 3; iv. 95; v. 6, 37. 


Another interpretation <of enpSraycm. The term en- 
perayam, otherwise known as enperuntuwivar, is com- 
mented on also in a different way, though loosely. These 
eight are those who adorned the king with a tilaba in his 
forehead, who decorated him with flowers, who presented 
to him undergarments and clothings, who offered 
him betel, who attended to his upper-dress, who 
offered him ghee and so on. 1 A reference to the supply 
of ghee to the king's household in Madura 2 shows that 
there must have been eight separate establishments, 
all catering for the needs of the royal household. 3 This 
interpretation seems to bear no political interest. 
Neither will this interpretation nor interpreting the 
term ayam as attendants on the queen fit in with the 
circumstances mentioned in the Sarigam classics. Most 
of these officials belonged to the royal entourage who 
followed the king in public tours, processions, festivals 
and similar occasions. 4 

The tlrthas of the Arthasastm. The above three 
groups of officials, numbering eighteen, suggest ,a com- 
parison with the eighteen departments of Government 
according to the Sanskritists. These departments are 
generally designated tlrthas and these are mantrin, 
purohita, senapati, yuvaraja, dauvarika or door-keeper, 
antarvamsika ( chamberlain ),prasasta (secretary in charge 
of prisons), samaharta (collector-general), sannidhata 
(finance-minister), pradestr (chief police officer), nayaka 

1 The term Kanjukan occurs in the Maiiimckalai, Canto ; xxviii, 1. 128. 
2 See Author's Hindu Ad. Inst., pp. 161-2. 
*$ilap. t vii, 1. 7. 

* See also commentary of the Silap., p. 147. 


(leader of infantry), pauravyavaharika (judge at the 
capital), karmantika (director of mines and industries), 
mantriparisadadhyaksa (secretary to the council assem- 
bly), dandapala (leader of the army corps), durgapala 
(officer in charge of the fortresses), antapala (frontier 
guards), and atavika (forest-chiefs.) 1 Dr. K. P. Jayaswal 
would separate paura and vyavaharika. 2 If this could be 
accepted, the paura may correspond to the wagvramakkal or 
tmgaramdntwr of the Tamil literature. Most of these agree 
but some offices are different from the tlrthas of Sanskrit 
literature. The latter furnish a rough parallel at the most. 
Passing on to ( the subject proper, we find the first group 
of the five (\aimperunkulu) as the council of the king 
who invariably consulted it, and acted according to its 
decision.'' This consisted of the Chief Minister, the 
Purohita, the Commander-in-Chief, the Ambassador and 
the Intelligence Officer. It is not altogether correct to 
render the term aimpenmkuht as five great bodies. We 
would interpret it as the important groiup of the five, the 
cabinet, to speak in terms of modern political science. Of 
these, reference has already been made to the Purohita 4 
and reference will be made in the following chapter to 
the Commander-in-Chief, the Ambassador and the Intelli- 
gence Officer. The mantriii is the Chief Minister and this 
implies that there were other ministers or amatyas. On 
the qualifications of the minister, the Madunaikkanci says : 
'A true minister shall note the good and the bad in the 
king and advise him to conduct himself with love and 
righteousness and thus keep him in the right path so that 
nothing would be said of him (the minister) and so that 

lArthasdstra, Book i, 12. 
* Hindu Polity, pt. ii, pp. 133-4. 

8 For another view, see K. A. NUakaotha Sastri, the P&^yan, Kingdom, 
pp. 32-3. 

'See supra, pp. 194-5. 


the king's fame may spread throughout the kingdom/ 1 The 
term kavidi in the passage quoted suggests that this de- 
scription has reference more to the finance minister. When 
Senguttuvan set out on his northern expedition in 
the auspicious hour fixed by the astrologer, among those 
who accompanied him and blessed the undertaking were 
the aimperunhuflfi and the enperayam. On the eve of 
his march the king called for a conference of his officials 
and spoke to them of his resolution. On this the &s[an 
(purohita) and the mautlikan (ntcutihurtika) addressed 
him and agreed with him. 2 What is remarkable is that 
in the Council chamber, the queen also was present and 
took part in the deliberations.' The other officers 
mentioned in the Silappadikaram are the chief executive 
officers ( karumavinainar) * accountants ( kanakkiyal 
vinainar), judges (tarumaznnaiffar), army officers 
(tantiravinainar) and the astrologer (perunkani)* In 
another place we have the mention of the following 
officers, as&n (purohila), pcrunkani (astrologer), 
arakkalatfantonar (judges), kavidi (revenue officers), 
uuiHtirukhanakkar (counsellors). The last are also 
called mantiraccurram. 

The passage in the Puram 7 and the comment on it cer- 
tainly lend support to the view we have taken that the king 

. 496-99. 

2 See Silap. the opening lines of the kdlkdjkadai, xxvi. 
*Ibid, xxv, 11. 107-14; xxviii, 11. 65-6. 

Silap., xxvi, 11. 40-41. 
'xxii, 11. 8-9. 

6 jjf^**r^ fiifivxr ffireirear Qu<5iB*<s*fi Cf. Ibid., xxviii, 11. 221-2. 

7 'jBiflv/r* #pf>Qu>tr QpQfftQfriff eS&reiB' p^am, 2, 1. 19 f 


had a Council which he consulted before taking any final 
action. As the policy of the State was dependent on their 
advice and guidance, utmost care was taken to appoint 
suitable men for these responsible posts. The ministers are 
known as kalaikkannalar, 1 (i.e.) those who possess the 
eye of knowledge. The term halaikkannaltir perhaps 
answers to the expression jnanacakswh; of the Arthasastra. 
It is said there were sixty- four branches of learning. The 
ministers were expected to have learnt all this to effectively 
handle and direct the machinery of government. Mere 
theoretical knowledge was not enough. They should 
be practical men of the world and should be also aged 
enough to bring their mature experience to bear on the 
policy of the State. 2 


Though there is not much material available in 
the ancient literature of the Tamils for constructing a 
history of the department of finance under the Tamil 
kings of those days, still, there are some terms and 
expressions which, if properly interpreted and understood, 
would go a long way to make out a case for this 
important* institution. It needs no saying that a 
State could not go on without finances, and no finance 
would be sound if it be not properly managed and 
controlled. That the management of this department 
was vested in a body of officials who went by the name 
kavidi is evident from the Silappadikaram* From the 
circumstances in which the term is mentioned, it is 
reasonable to assume that the kavidi was the chief 

CintGmani, 19-24. 
'See Pajujit Swaminatha Aiya 
Far other qualifications of the minister see El&di (17) : also 

'xxii, AlarpctfukOdai, 1. 9; cf. Pewnkatai, ii. 3, 144. 


finance minister whose headquarters was at the capital 
and whose chief duty was probably to see that the 
revenues due were collected in season and in the proper 
way. The k&vidi can be compared to the sannidh&ta or 
the samaharta of the Arthasastm. According to the 
Silapp\adikar\am, he is one of the five chief officers of the 
State who advised and were advised in turn by the king 
on great affairs affecting the kingdom. Alumbil-vel 
seems to have been the finance minister of Ceran 
Senguttuvan. The king ordered him to go with his 
establishment ayakkanakkar round the country and pro- 
claim in his name remission of taxes in honour of the 
founding of the temple to Kannaki. 1 Yet another term 
kamnattiyalaruar, one among the enper&yam points to 
another class of officials connected with taxation and 
finance. It is rather difficult to make out the specific duties 
assigned to these two classes of officials, though it is 
plausible to argue that they had different functions to 

Sources of Revenue. The Tamilagam was chiefly an 
agricultural country and hence a considerable portion of 
the revenue came from the land, which was generally 
one-sixth of the produce. What is noteworthy is that 
Sanskrit texts mention the same rate. 2 The Rural 
says how one should distribute his income remaining 
after the payment of the recognized one-sixth to the king, 

Cf. Pur<H* 17. 

canto xxvidi, 11. 204-6. 

Note. Incidentally both the Perunkatai and the commentary of 
Naccinarkkiniyar on the Sutra 129 of the Tolk&ppiyam furnish that similar 
titles which were awarded by the king were not uncommon. As an example, 
the term Etfi ( &L ^ t 9-) is given to select merchants and the M&ivmSkalcH has 
reference to etfikumaran (eriLt^^tLff^r) (i v . 58). 
See Hindu Adm. Insti., p. 163. 
27 , 


among the five persons the departed manes, gods, 
guests, relatives and self. 

The Purapporul Venbamalai which mentions the same 
rate of the one-sixth 1 promulgates the important theory 
of protection and taxation. In other words the taxes to 
the king are regarded as wages paid to him for the pro- 
tection he affords, and if occasion rose, the people 
might cease to pay the taxes and apply to the king for 
remission. An instance in point is that a poet 
Naganar who was an agriculturist by profession, found 
the economic law of diminishing returns operating in his 
fields, and knowing that he could not get justice from the 
lower officials, approached the Cola king Killivalavan 
and pleaded his cause before him. After hearing what 
the poet said, he ordered remission of revenue. 2 

The other source of revenue was commerce. The 
existence of big mercantile communities like Ippar, 
Kavippar, Peruiikudi, dealing in active commerce both 
by sea and land, the fact that these merchants were the 
wealthiest community of the times, and also the fact of 
the king awarding them title like the Etti, go to 
demonstrate a flourishing condition of trade. The 
Pattwappalai refers to the Customs Officers who were in 
charge of commodities exported to, and imported from, 
foreign lands. There were toll-houses where tolls, vary- 
ing according to the nature and quality of the articles, 
were levied by special officials appointed for the purpose. 8 
Valluvar mentions this income as one of the three sources 

nfiGff Qurrg&r. Kural-vevbd, 756. 
*UL fleer 

U>. (179) 
2 Sec Purvm, 35. 8 Ibid., 120-37. 


which go to the king legitimately. The other two are 
those coming from mines and spoils of war. We may 
here draw attention to the special act of the Pandyan 
Nedunjeliyan who, on a representation from a young and 
poor poet, who suddenly grew wealthy by rich presents 
from an unexpected quarter, for which the lower officials 
meted out to him unjiust punishment, ordered that in his 
kingdom, treasure-finds and other legitimately acquired 
income belonged, of right, to the discoverer. What we 
have to note specially is the relinquishing by the 
king of his right to treasure-troves. 1 Other important 
sources of income which swelled the king's treasury 2 
are the spoils of war, tributes and voluntary contribu- 
tions. That the first two were normal, is seen from 
several poems of the Pur am. 3 Occasional and voluntary 
contributions especially by the hill-tribes both in kind 
and in cash were another good source of income. The 
Silapfiadikaram mentions that, when king Seriguttuvan 
passed through the Nilgiris, many a present was given 
to him by the hill-men. 4 There were certainly other 
sources of revenue as testified to by the inscriptions of the 
Pallavas, Pandyas and Colas. These are not examined 
here as the scope of the book has been mainly restric- 
ted to Tamil literature. Suffice it to say that the 
various sources of revenue mentioned above are only 
reminiscences of an earlier epoch, and hence most of 
them are undoubtedly ancient forms of taxation. 

Principles of Taxation. The king was either a right- 
eous or an unrighteoius tax-gatherer. Unrighteous methods 
of collecting taxes are condemned in unequivocal terms. 

sirQu>&r $ilap. t canto xxiii, 11. 128-9. 
9 For the treasury see Sirupancantftlum, 40. 
'See for example 22, 11. 25-7; 97, 11. 19-21; 387, 11. 12-13. 
* Canto xxv, 11. 35-55. 


The first and the equitable method is applauded. In this 
connection we can recall an informing ode in the Pwram. 
It says, that even though the extent of the land is less than 
a m&, if one would make a ball of dried paddy and continue 
to offer it to an elephant every day, it would be possible for 
him to continue the same for a long time to come. On 
the other hand, if the extent of the land is more than 
a hundred ey, and if an elephant is allowed to eat of it 
at its will, the amoiunt of waste caused by the crushing 
of the grains under its feet will be very much more than 
what it would ordinarily consume. In the same way if 
an intelligent king would gather moderate and equitable 
taxes, his treasury will grow a thousand-fold and he him- 
self will get recognition and fame. If, on the other hand, 
the king lacks wisdom and is surrounded by officers 
who are not versed in the equitable path but support 
him in whatever way he goes, and levies reckless imposts 
from his subjects, like the elephant that entered the paddy- 
store, he will not himself enjoy, and the State will be 
reduced to the verge of ruin. 1 In another ode of the same 
anthology (75) the term 'kudipuravirakkum Kurilamnws- 
siriyon' refers to the ignoble king who asks for more than 
the usual and fixed one-sixth part of the revenue. 2 Quite 
appropriate to this prescription is that of the Kural 


Geuitp Qeorjfluj/Sifg} Qstr&RQ&r 

fi& tti 

ieSujar Qpe 

Ei Q*(?o). Pur am, 184. 
2 C, 197, 11, 15-19. 


which compares a king backed by the power of his 
danda asking for more money than what is due, to a high- 
way robber with a sword in his hand asking a lonely 
traveller to surrender all his possessions. 1 

Items of Expenditure. With regard to items of ex- 
penditure, we know definitely two items. One is the 
enormous money spent by the State on irrigation. 
The other was presents to the worthy and the deserving. 
The king whose interest in irrigation was great, was 
Karikarcolan. In addition to the several literary 
evidences, there is the certain evidence of epigraphical 
testimony 2 that Karikalan raised substantial embankments 
for the river Kaviri for the purpose of irrigation. In 
speaking about the achievements of the same monarch, 
the Pattmappalai, a Saiigam work, refers to his construc- 
tion of tanks and wells and to such other productive 
works thus converting the jungle into an inhabitable 
country. 8 

With regard to the second item, we know the liberality 
of these Tamil kings who awarded gifts to the poets and 
poetesses who looked for their patronage. In fact every 
king celebrated in the angam anthologies, is celebrated 
for his munificence. Besides cash which was the usual 
form of gifts, the grant of brahmadeya lands was also in 
practice. According to the Padirruppattu the Cera king 
awarded such pimmadeya lands to the poet Kumatturk- 
kannanar. 4 This was, in other words, the means to 
realize the two ends of the State, viz. education and 
religion, on which depends the progress of society. 


/. (552) 
*Ep. Ind.,vn, p. 125. 
M. 284 f. 

*II padikam. Cf. AT. $&s. on the gifts of brahmadtya lands to the 
Srdtriyas, ftviks and Pw&hitaj. 


Other items of expenditure connected with the royal 
household, the civil and military establishments, and 
other undertakings of a productive or unproductive 
character, we know little about. Unfortunately we do 
not have enough materials which could throw light on 
these and other topics of interest connected with fiscal 


The Concept of Law. Law as understood to-day is 
quite different from the conception of law in ancient 
Tamil India. Law to the ancient Indians, whether of 
the north or the south of India, was the customary law, 
the law of diverse peoples. There was in fact no 
legislature which made and unmade laws. In very 
ancient times, the king represented the State as the 
administrator, as the leader of hosts in war and as the 
judge. But with the expansion of the State, arose 
other institutions. A need was felt for the distribution 
of power among institutions which shouldered the 
responsibility in behalf of the State. One among such 
institutions was the department of Justice. The king 
entrusted the work of administering justice to a body of 
officials who were held responsible for the proper 
conduct of justice. Invariably the members of this 
body were Brahmanas, and the Hall of Justice was called 
arak-kalam. 1 This term is rendered tarumastmam (Sans. 
Dharmasma) by the commentator. 

A High Sense of Justice. The pregnant observation 
of the author of the Kural, namely, that it is not the lance 8 
that gains victory but only a righteous administration 

ff. Silap., cant, xxii, 11. 8, 26, 246; xxviii, !. 222. 
, 546, 


that contributes to success, is corroborated by the 
Pur>am where the observance of the dharmaic rule is 
said to be essential to, and incumbent on a king. 1 

In more than one place in the Silappadik&r&m, 
it is said that, if justice was not properly meted out, 
the king would not survive it. 2 In fact this is men- 
tioned as the chief characteristic of the Pandyan 
kings. 3 With such a high sense of justice, then, the 
ancient Tamil kings left no stone unturned for meting 
out proper justice to the wronged and the innocent. 
There was a special department of justice, composed of 
highly learned Brahmanas well versed in Sastraic lore. 
The king was of course the High Court of Appeal. 
The Kural prescribes : 

'Search out, to no one favour show, with heart that 

justice loves 
Consult, then act: this is the rule that right 

'Hard of access, nought searching out, with partial 

The king who rules, shall sink and perish from the 


These two Kural-venbds* concisely state on what 
lines the administration of justice is to be conducted. 
Awarding punishment without a searching inquiry 
into the whole case, showing special favour to one party 
or the other, are severely condemned. In the Kwml 
polity the king was still the judge, though he consulted 

uJffQar Q*rrppu>. Puram. 55, 10. 
2 Q*ab(?4F/r> fi/Bartu o/i^/fe//r 0/rDu>. Silap. Canto xxviii, 212-3. 
d., Canto, xxix, p. 577. 

iu eu&Qp <y*a>p. Kuraf-iknba, 54. 
crmrujjjir Q^air <y>mp>Q*wuir AMB 

, 548, 


beforehand men learned in law. Impartiality is insisted 
upon. The king should so administer justice that he 
might win the love and esteem of the people. Easy 
accessibility, patient hearing and right punishment are 
the qualities of a righteous monarch. 

The king bestowed sympathetic thought on those 
who desired justice to be done to them and got the 
grievances of others righted as wished for bvthem.' 1 

Again : 'If the king, who is easily accessible to his 
citizens and acts in accordance with the established law 
of the land would but desire, rains will instantaneously 
pour in.'* 

The swbhd at Uraiyur. But by the time the epics 
were composed, a separate department of justice had 
come into being. 8 We have the mention of the sabhd 
at Uraiyur, the Cola capital, as a model Court of Jiustice. 
We have the testimony of an ancient poet Marokkattu- 
Nappasalaiyar in an ode in the Puram.* 

Thus the sabha at Uraiyur must be considered very 
ancient, where justice was administered according to 
the established laws. 

n, 11. 443-4.) 

8 (7p/D(?a/wr Qu/r(ij8/D upQearefl Qmifosor 
(Boo^CJeyafer Quir(ySp Quvu&Qu jbQ (ir?Q a . Puram, 35. 

Cf. Mutumolik&nci, x, (10) Eladi, (11) Kural-venbd, 386 and 559. 
*$ilap. f canto v, 11. 135^8. 


(yseSl esr 

. 39, 11. 8-10. 

ag. Narr*W*, 400, 11. 7-8. 
smessfi <uQ unfit 3*/rp 

eDf luArear. Aham, 93, 11. 4-5. 


Capital Punishment. We know of cases where 
punishment was awarded without thorough investigation 
and which cost not only the monarch's life but the ruin 
of his whole capital city. When Kovalan took his wife's 
anklet for sale to the market, the State goldsmith placed 
him in safe custody and informed the king that the anklet 
resembled the one that was lost in the palace. Without 
going into the merits of the case, the king at once ordered 
his execution. Even the executioners hesitated for some 
time before they performed the unpleasant and unholy 
task entrusted to them. But the royal order must be 
obeyed. Poor Kovalan was executed. When his wife 
Kannaki came to know of this, she ran with breathless 
haste to the Durbar hall, and so proved the innocence of 
her husband that the Pandyan king fell down from the 
throne broken-hearted, for having committed a great 
blunder by inflicting capital punishment on the 
innocent. 1 

An Incident from Karikal\ris Life. Karikarcolan 
came to the throne when very young. Once, two old 
men, the plaintiff and the defendant came to his palace 
to prefer a complaint before him. Finding the king too 
young and inexperienced, they preferred to place their 
case before the Court of Justice. Hence they withdrew 
from the palace and sought the aid of the Law Court. 
Here the king appeared disguised in the attire of an old 
man and sat on the judgment seat. The two men were 
not able to recognize that he was the king himself in the 
guise of a judge. He then gave his judgment which 
pleased both the plaintiff and the defendant. 2 Whether 
these examples are historically true or otherwise, they are 

canto xvi, 1. 115 ff. 

2 See the Pajamoli (21) and the commentary thereon. See also, Mani. 
iv, 11. 107-8; Porwartiruppafai, 11. 187-8. 


valuable in so far as they portray the ideas prevalent 
in those days, and the conception of the administration 
of justice as a sacred trust with the kings. 

A Cwrt of justice. It is evident that there was then 
a Court of Justice known as 1 manram? \avai? avaikkakm,* 
the sabhd, of Sanskrit literature, in the chief cities where 
both civil and criminal causes were taken cognizance of, 
tried, and decided. We have, however, no materials to 
show whether there were separate courts for civil suits 
and for criminal causes. But it is just possible that 
there was more than one mmr\am in one and the sarnie* 
city. But this by itself cannot prove the existence of 
separate courts. It is more reasonable to hold the view 
that the same court dealt with both kinds of causes. The 
jrudges were largely guided by what is known as dharma- 
ntil, 4 and as mil is tastm, the 'dharmanul may be some 
Dharmas&stra, as the judges were of the Brahmana 
community. What Dr. Jayaswal has remarked 5 about the 
Brahmana judge of Hindu Administration will be equally 
applicable to the Tamil Administration. He says: 'Law 
proper and Law ecclesiastical in administration tended 
to unite into one and unite in the hand of the Brahmana 
judge. And the Brahmana was fairly above the influence 
of the king/ 

Other Officers. The other officers belonging to this 
department are not mentioned in sufficient detail. There 
is however warrant for the assumption that there was a 
Superintendent of the Jail, from the mention of the terms 6 
meaning Jail in an ode of the Puram (74) and the twin 
epics. 7 That there were Jail giuards and that great 

9, 135, etc., *Ibid., 39; 8 /Wrf., 71, 1. 8 and 83, 1. 3. 
*Ibid. t 15 and 34. 
* Hind* Polity, ii. p. 153. 

v$tiap, xxiii, 103; Iftfafit, canto xix, I. 133, etc, 


restrictions were placed on the Jail officers in regard to 
the treatment of prisoners is evident from an ode in the 
Pwram 1 and the colophon to it. According to this, the 
king Ceraman Kanaikkal Irumporai who was defeated and 
taken prisoner by the Colan Senganan was interned at 
the penitentiary in the Kudav^ir Kottam. Asking for 
water when thirsty and not getting it in time, he refused 
to drink the water offered later on by the officers, but 
went on hunger strike and died . 

Release of Prisoners. A noteworthy point in this 
connection is the release of prisoners. It would appear 
that a general amnesty was declared on the occasion of 
the celebration of the birthday .of the king. 2 This 
birthday is designated as Perun&l* and Perumang>alam. 4 
Such general amnesty was also granted on other similar 
occasions. For example, on the occasion of the founding 
of the temple for Pattinidevi, eriguttuvan ordered the 
release of State prisoners like Kanaka and Vijaya as 
well as other ordinary prisoners." 

Offences and Punishments. There were offences of 
a civil character. One was failure to repay the debts 
incurred, as will be seen from a reference in the Siru- 

. canto xxviii, 9. 
*Silap., canto xxvii 44. 
*Tol. Porul 91. 

canto xxviii, 11. 204-5 


pancwmulwm? one of the eighteen poems in the category 
of Kllkkanakku. Among the criminal offences were 
theft, adultery, treason or raj\adroha y assault and so 
forth. The punishments were of different kinds such 
as imprisonment, 2 mutilation of limbs, and sentence of 
death. In the age of the Silapfiadikaram, there was in 
existence a treatise on theft, Kvravata. To this the 
executioners of Kovalan make a reference. Two examples 
of expert thieves are mentioned. One night a thief 
dressed in a woman's attire, entered the bed-room of 
the brother of king Nedufijeliyan, without anybody's 
knowledge, in the shadow caused by the lights in the palace. 
When the prince was fast asleep, he removed the 
diamond-necklace from his body; immediately the prince 
woke up and unsheathed his sword in the dark. Getting 
hold of the sheath, the thief skilfully managed the 
thrusting of the sword into the sheath, though aimed at 
him. Finding this, the prince engaged him in a 
wrestling fight, when the thief drew him near a pillar of 
the room and disappeared. No one knew, how or 
where. The other instance is that of a thief who 
was dark in colour and appeared in the dead of 
night and got hold of a man who unsheathed his 
sword. The thief managed to get hold of the sword, 
and ran away with it. 3 

Treachery to the king was visited with equally severe 
punishments. 4 For committing adultery the punishment 


i xix. 11. 42-43. 

*$ilap. canto xvi, 11. 190-212. For a description of a thief and his 
implements see Madurdikk&fici, 11. 639-42. 

4 There is a case of suspicion of treaison. Poet IJandattan was 
suspected of being a spy and the CSia king ordered hs execution. His 
innocence being proved, he was left alone. Pwfow, 47, cf. 46, 


was to cut off the offender's legs. 1 Even the great moralist 
statesman Tiruvalluvar accepts and approves the sentence 
of death so that criminal offences might be minimised. 2 

It would thus appear that capital punishments were in 
vogue and were put in operation only when the nature of 
the case called for the same. Otherwise, punishments 
were equitable and mild, and based on law and custom. 5 
It is remarkable to note that offences committed by a 
Brahmana were not visited with such severe punishments. 
When Mavalattan, brother of prince Nalarikilli and the 
Brahmana Kannanar were engaged in a game of dice, 
and when the latter did not play a straight game, the 
prince grew angry and reprimanded the Brahmana. On 
this, the latter made the significant remark that none of 
his predecessors had treated the Brahmanas in the manner 
in which he did. The prince realized his mistake and 
asked for pardon for having done so unwittingly.* 
This is mentioned here, only to show the regard and 
the esteem in which the Brahmana was held in Tamil 

Witnesses. When a certain case was presented to the 
Court, one method of enquiry was by the examination of 
witnesses. There were then, as now, both false and true 
witnesses. The Sirup ancamulam condemns the witness 
who deposes to an untruth. 5 The false witness is 
mentioned as one among the six offenders of a State. 
The other five are pseudo-sannyasins, housewives 
loose in morals, disloyal ministers, adulterers and 
tale-bearers. In different places in the Silappadikaram, 

p (gif.uui$<juiriEi enstypSp sireogjeopuju). Nalacjiyar, 84. 
#/r*f <u/rD/r QojnQprrjpijgpev aouc/ai-ip 
<?/ttf. Kuraf-vevba, 550. 
3 0**" ) (Sans, dear a) and'p*<5 (Sans. vya?vah&rd) see P^ram f 10. 
* Pur am, 43. 
5 QmirQeisifiu Qufffuir * *rru>. (10) *SHap, canto v, 11. 128-34. 


deposing as false witness is treated as a great crime. 
Thus we see how carefully justice was administered in 
ancient Tamil India and the dignity of law and order 


Political Divisions. The village which is known by 
different names such as ur, perur, (big village) mudur, 
(old village) sirur (small village) is the unit of adminis- 
tration in the Tamil polity. Sometimes one village and 
sometimes a group of villages formed the unit of adminis- 
tration. A number of such villages or their groups 
constituted a nadu. Above this was the territo- 
rial division of the mandilam. The mandilam connoted 
the geographical limits covered by the central adminis- 
tration. Between the nod it and the mandilam, there was 
another political division of the territory Kftrram or 
Kdttam (district) . Invariably on the border limits of the 
mandilmn lived subordinate kings who arc known as 
the vilir. These subordinate kings are called Kurunila- 
mannarkal. These were smaller chieftains who enjoyed 
semi-independence for they were subject to the suze- 
rainty of the king at the capital. The latter is designated 
as ko or nwdivendan. 

The Village, a Self-contained Unit. Every village 
was a self-contained unit. Agriculture was of course the 
main profession of the people. Mere agriculture could 
not make the village economically independent of other 
villages. So, cottage industries were a special feature. 
There was, then, a division of the whole people of the 
village into occupational or functional groups which 
became in course of time hereditary and which conse- 
quently assumed the status of separate castes. In the 
Pwram, Maftgudi Kilar makes a reference to some 
occupational castes tudiyan (a player on the drum 


denominated 1wii), panan (bard), paraiyan (drummer) 
and kadamban, (an agriculturist). To these the Perum- 
panarmpfadai adds fisherman (vafaiyar), traders and 
merchants (vanikar), and cultivating labourers (nlavar). 
The early organizations were, then, communal in charac- 
ter, and all the different groups engaged in various trades 
and professions contributed to the growth of the 
great village community, an institution which is regarded 
as something unique by the modern political theorist. 

How the village community functioned effectively and 
efficiently in the realms of social, political, economic and 
religious life of the village is evident from the monu- 
mental reports of the Madras Epigraphist. The South 
Indian inscriptions often draw our attention to such insti- 
tutions with full details of their organization and adminis- 
tration. These have not been pressed into service here 
inasmuch as these portray a state of society long poste- 
rior to the sixth century after Christ, an epoch outside the 
pale of the Sangam. As the present study is mainly 
confined to Sang'am age, we refrain from making an 
elaborate use of the inscriptions. 1 

Details of Village Administration. Confining our- 
selves, then, to the data furnished by the &arigam litera- 
ture, we find only one feature of the village administration, 
namely, the administration of justice. We have not 
sufficient materials for determining the political relations 
between the Central Government and the Local Govern- 
ment represented by these tiny republics of village com- 
munities. It would appear that the village community 
agreed to make a fixed annual contribution to the Central 
Executive; and so long as this was forthcoming regiularly, 
there was no need for interference on the part of the 

*I have utilized the data furnished by epigraphy in my Hindu 
Administrative Institution^ chap, vii, sees, iv, and v. 


Central Government with the internal management of the 
village. Indeed the village enjoyed absolute autonomy 
in the management of its internal affairs with the 
help of the village elders 1 who formed themselves 
into various committees for supervising particular 
interests like gardens, tanks, etc. The village affairs 
were settled by the unanimous decision of the elders 
who generally assembled under a big tree. The 
assembly thus convened is called mcwram, and also 
Podiyil? Four kinds of trees are mentioned as 
relating to a manmm. In fact the manmm takes its name 
from that particular tree under which it is located. 
These are Irattimanram (jujube)/ vilamanram 4 (wood- 
apple), palamanranr' (jack), and Veppamanram (mar- 
gosa). This does not mean that only under these trees 
were the manmnis held. As a matter of fact, there is 
the mention of the assemblage of the Kosar underneath 
the shade of an old banyan tree with thick branches 
spreading in all directions. 7 Generally, this tree was in 
front of the village. 8 In some places it was also in the 
centre of the village. 9 Monrwn simply means a public 
place. It was put to different uses. First, it was the 
common pasturage of the village where cattle were allowed 
to graze. 10 Secondly, it served as the village theatre 

x The term Kil&r appended to a certain village and mentioned, as the 
name of a poet OJT chieftain, suggests the idea of that poet or chieftain being 
the head of that village or group of villages. Kildn literally means the 
magnate. In the Puram anthology, we meet with a number of such names. 
Some of them may be mentioned. Arisil-kilar, Alattur-kllar, Avur-kllar, 
Idaiik-kunrur-kilar, Karilqilar, Kuruh-koliyi^r-kilar, Kutjalur-kilar, Kovur 
kijar are poets and bards. Erunturkilan, Karumbanu^-kilan, Konkanan- 
kilan and Colanattuppitavur-kijar were chieftains. Apparently most of these 
poets were elders of the village, pursuing their hereditary professions, The 
chieftains were perhaps the heads of these villages. 

*Pur<Mi, 34, 128 and 390. 8 Pwwn, 34, 1. 12, 325, 11. 10-11. 

'Ibid., 181. 6 /&*., 128 11. 1-2. 

/&td., 76, 1. 4. 7 See also Kuruntogai, 15; Aham, 251, 1. 8. 

*Puram 390, 1. 19. Ttrttmvfo, 1. 226. 

14; Pufam, 387. 


and the dancing hall. 1 Thirdly, it was a place often 
frequented by the members of the fair sex who participated 
in the social enjoyments of the village. It is said that 
when once their husbands were dead, the women ceased 
going there. 2 

The village assembly met to hear causes and award 
punishment according to the gravity of the offence. 
Other affairs of local importance also came under its 
jurisdiction. The members were generally the elders 
of the village in whom the people of the village had 
absolute confidence on account of their integrity and 
impartiality. This is testified to by no less a poet 
than Perunkunrurkilar in addressing the Cola king 
Ilarijetcenni. 3 

The manram was then a village sabha or council where 
the village business was transacted by the villagers 
themselves, an extension of the true principle of 
democratic government. 

Even the safeguarding of the village from robbers 
and other undesirables, rested chiefly with the village 
community. There was an excellent system of night- 
watchmen who were entrusted with the guardianship of 
the village during nights. They generally went round 
the streets of the village with lights in their hands at 
dead of night. 4 

Not only was the protection and defence of the village, 
but also the proper maintenance and upkeep carefully 
attended to. It seems that grain-dealers and other mer- 
chants often passed through these roads with costly 
merchandise. Lest they should be waylaid and plunder- 
ed by highway robbers, it is said that these paths were 

iMaduraikk&nci, 1. 615. *Pufam, 373, 1. 12. 

*Ibid., 266, 11. 9-10. 

iu/ri6 Qsiraru&ir #L-itt8Lpp ir&u>. (Puram, 37, 11. 8-9.) 


made safe and secure by posting special watchmen in 
these places, the cost of which was probably met from the 
toll-dues collected at the toll-houses. 1 

Thus we have passed in rapid review a system 
of polity, not complex in character, in vogue in 
very early times in the southernmost part of the vast 
Indian Continent. At the first glance there appears no 
material difference, except in certain matters of detail, 
between this South Indian polity and the far more 
ancient Hindu polity of North India. When we 
remember and recognize the fact that there was fre- 
quent intercourse between the North and the South 
and a free interchange of ideas and ideals, ever 
since the time of the composition of the Rgveda 
Samhita in which occurs the word Daksinapatha, we 
would cease to wonder at these parallel developments of 
many of the component parts of the administrative 
machinery. Like the Ganges and the Jumna, these two 
streams of ancient culture, though separate in their 
origin and separate in the early part of their course, 
became afterwards united into a single river, containing 
the essential elements and salient features of both, whose 
perennial waters still continue not only to fertilize the 
soil which it flows over, but also to contribute a rich 
quota to the sea of speculative thought and political 

*, 11. gO-82; tbid. #41. 




WRITERS on the history of English literature remark 
justly and truly that the writings of a certain epoch 
preserve and represent the feelings and sentiments, the 
ideas and ideals, tendencies and beliefs of that particular 
period. If this were true of English literature, it is largely 
so of other literatures as well. 'Literature' says Alfred 
Lyall 'may be employed by the critic and the historian 
as a delicate instrument for analysis, for investigating 
the psychology of the man arid of his period, for laying 
bare the springs of thought and action which underlie 
and explain history.' 1 It is in the province of research 
to arrive at this historical fact. In this way only much 
of the history of ancient Greece and of ancient India 
is to be reconstructed. The history of South India in 
pre-historic periods is largely taken from the abundant 
wealth of Tamil literature the one great source of 

In Tamil literature, however, there are no systematic 
treatises as in Sanskrit, specially treating of the art and 
science of war. The only work perhaps in which an 
attempt has been made to treat of some branches of the 
military science such as the institution of spies, 
ambassadors, fortifications, the composition of an in- 
dividual army, etc., is that mdtum in pQ/rvo, the Kuml of 
Tiruvalluvar. The Pumpporul Venbamdlai of Aiyanari- 
tanar of the Ceravamsa 2 is another important work but 

1 Tennyson, Men of Letters Serfas, p. 1. 

2 Edited by Pandit V. SwSminatha Ayyar. 


it is a much later work assigned generally to the seventh 
or the eighth century. But the works constituting the 
Sarigam Literature such as the Tolkappiyam, the Ettut- 
togwi, the P\attupputtw, and the P(riinenkttkkanakku 
contain isolated passages and poems from which it is 
possible to form an idea of the methods of ancient 
warfare, the weapons then in general use, and the code 
of military ethics prevalent at that time. To these 
sources may be added the mahakavyas such as the 
Silappadikaram and the Manimekalai where there are 
stray references to the military exploits and martial 
valour of particular individuals, historical or fictitious, as 
well as descriptions of battles which the heroes fought 
and won, and these throw a considerable light on the 
question. These mahakavyas are of varying dates from 
the second century to the ninth century A.D. 

It is evident from our literary sources that ancient 
South India was inhabited by many tribes leading 
a nomadic and wandering life. But these various 
tribes belonging to the hill and forest regions appear to 
have been the off-shoots of the main tribe of the Nagas 
who seem to have played a significant part in ancient 
Indian History. Most of these several tribes were full 
of martial spirit and showed prowess in battle. We may 
mention the names of a few like the Maravar 1 and the 
Eyinar. 2 The Maravar wore moustaches and beards 
and were brave and fierce-looking, being endowed with 
good physical strength. Their profession was highway 
robbery. Their weapons were simple, consisting of 
bows and arrows. They had a peculiar kind of drum 
that could be sounded on both sides. Highly struck by 
the display of their martial valour, the kings of the land 

st. xv, 11. 1-7. 
P*nWpfi*arrm>pafai t 11. 130-80. 


some of whom might be said to have belonged to the Velir 
or the Vejala tribes 1 freely enlisted them in their army 
ranks. It is said that able members of the Maravar tribes 
wielded the highest offices of the State. Some of them 
were Ministers and Commanders under the Cera and 
Pandya kings as is seen from P-urcnianfint* It is not 
difficult to infer, then, that these kings found in the 
members of these different tribes 1 valuable material 
for the upkeep and defence of their States and therefore 
utilized them to a large extent. It may be noted in 
passing that there was no rigid warrior-caste as such in 
ancient Tamil India. 


The aims of war and the causes which precipitated 
the conflagration of hostilities were indeed many. To 
state them categorically, the first was the refusal to give 
maidens in marriage (niakanmaruttnmolitaiy desired by 
the conquering monarch. This was the ground on which 
the three kings, the Pandya, Cera and Cola went to war 
with Pari, the chieftain of Parambunadu who refused to 
give his daughter to any of the above monarchs. 6 In the 
same collection there is another mention of war on this ac- 
count among the several neighbouring chiefs. 6 Second- 
ly, lifting neighbours' cattle was one of the causes of 

1 M. Srinivasa Ayyangar distinguishes three types of Pre- Aryans in the 
Tamil country: (1) The Hill and forest tribes, (2) The Ngas and 
(3) The Vejir or the Vejala tribes (see Tamil Studies, p. 61). 

St. 168 and 179. 

8 These tribes were later on classified by the Tamil grammarians and 
writers according to the locality Neytal, Marudam, Mullai, Palai and 
Kurifiji which largely determined their occupation and the habitat. 
Each occupation being followed hereditarily became translated into a caste. 

., 336-54, 


ancient warfare. This was the basis of many a 
war between several belligerent states in ancient 
India. This as well as the first mentioned find a 
prominent place in the Pwappoml Venbamalai. A 
writer in the Tamilian Antiquary^ concludes from 
this that 'this shows the beginnings of the Dravidian 
Society when people were semi-agriculturists and when 
there were no definite organized states/ But there are 
other elements pertaining to war which go to indicate an 
advanced state of civilization, social progress, and politi- 
cal development. Perhaps the same state of affairs is 
found mentioned in the pages of the M^ctihabharata. 
Cattle-lifting is one among the several causes hastening 
the outbreak of war. The stealing of Virata's cattle by 
Diuryodhana's soldiers offered an occasion for a contest 
with the latter. And from this we could not conclude 
that the Mtihabharata represents an epoch when the 
civilization of Hindu India was semi-agricultural in 
character. On the other hand, organized states and well- 
developed administrative institutions are found described 
elaborately. The error is probably due to the mistaken 
view of the writer that cattle-raids mentioned in the text 
are but ordinary cattle-liftings with which we are familiar 
even to-day and which are robberies, pure and simple. 
In ancient days, too, cattle-lifting was a robbery but a 
daring one and of such great magnitude that it was 
nothing short of a 'call to arms/ 

Thirdly, ancient warfare had political objects 
as well. This was the extermination of recalcitrant 
rivals and refractory vassals. This was the ground 
on which Nedunjeliyan II, though young but possess- 
ing in full both physical and moral courage so 
essential to the success of a general, embarked on war 

Antiquary, No. 5 t 


against his neighbours with a vow to defeat them in a 
pitched battle. 1 Yet another occasion for the war was 
the failure of vassal chieftains to pay tribute as in the 
case of the battle of Kalingam described in the Kalinga- 
ttupparani, a treatise of the latter half of the eleventh 
century A.D. S 


As in ancient Greece the king led the hosts to war. 
He rode in a chariot with flying standards and under 
shelter of a white umbrella. Each king had his own 
badge, to distinguish him from others, worn on his 
pendant. The Cola, Pandya and Cera kings had re- 
spectively banners of fish, tiger and bow. 3 Again the 
king and also his generals wore garlands of flowers to 
distinguish themselves from the enemy ranks. That 
wreaths of flowers of margosa, palmyra and the Ar were 
worn by the Pandya, Cera and Cola rnonarchs respective- 
ly is testified to us by epigraphic evidence. 4 

In ancient times, the army, padai, tanai was divided 
into various groups/' Later on it came to consist of the 
traditional four-fold forces often met with in Sanskrit 
texts. These were chariots, elephants, horses and foot- 
soldiers. The K*ura\ gives some salutary recommenda- 
tions on the importance and value of an excellent army. 

, st. 72. 

2 Par ant is a poem which narrates the heroic deeds of a warrior who 
had at least slain a thousand elephants on the field of battle. The extant 
work the Kalmgattuppara$i is by one Jayahko^<Jan 'in honour of 
Karu^akara Toncjaiman, possibly a general of Kulottunga C6la I (1069-1118). 
sPwram, 367-77. 
*S. I. /, vol. ii, part i, No. 10. 

, fi<te*[fe-swrM_], 0/fr* [pil] The front ranks were 
ko&ppafai [Q*/rifuuDL-], Mr[^/nf], **,# [jflrfl], 
nirai [/#o/r], and back ranks, kulai [*->#] i Pre- Aryan Tamil Culture, 
p. 39 f 


To a king a victorious army, strong in all its 
constituent parts and fearless in battle, is a very valuable 
asset. A small army of well-trained and well-practised 
veterans is better than a large army ill-disciplined and 
ill-led. What will a host of rats avail against the hiss of 
an infuriated serpent? Without high-souled boldness, 
a keen sense of honour, strict observance of the glorious 
traditions of war and unflinching loyalty, an army woiuld 
be good for nothing. And the army again must be well 
versed in all the military movements and manoeuvres. 1 
From these few lines it would appear that Tiruvalluvar 
was no admirer of superiority of numbers. He laid 
great stress on the practical training of both the leader 
and the led . 

As to the composition of the army corps itself, it has 
been already remarked that there was no distinct mili- 
tary caste. Divergent elements constituted an army 
force. Originally men of several indigenous tribes 
were enlisted to the ranks, these possessing heroic valour. 
Later on in the tenth and eleventh centuries we find that 
soldiers were recruited from the Left hand and the Right 
hand castes of South India by the Colas as is evident 
from the Tanjore inscriptions. 2 It is manifest that 
during the time of Rajarajadeva, the army organization 
seems to have progressed to such an extent that as many 
as thirty-three regiments are mentioned as belonging to 
that king. Even members of the Brahmana caste seem to 
have been recruited to the ranks. In the same inscription 
there is distinct mention of a Brahmana military officer. 8 

As to the four-fold arms of the ancient host, the 
chariots of war were drawn by two horses furnished with 
two wheels and capable of accommodating only two 

, ch. 77. *SJJ., vol. ii, part 5, Intro., p. 9. 

I3 f 


persons the warrior and the charioteer. These war- 
chariots, it may be remembered, were a peculiar feature 
of the early Mycepean civilization that flourished between 
1,600 and 1,200 B.C. Riding on elephants or chariots 
was a privilege given only to a few. Generals of stand- 
ing or persons belonging to the class of nobility were 
alone allowed to enjoy this honour. The cavalry force 
was another important constituent in the Tamil army 
organization. The cavalry soldiers did not wield heavy 
arms like the foot-soldiers. They wore short bucklers. 
The infantry men consisted of the archers and ordinary 
footmen. The archers used a bow and a quiver of arrows. 
The ordinary footmen carried a spear or battle-axe on 
their right hand and shields of ox-hide on the left. 
Invariably the infantry soldiers wore big and heavy 
weapons. All of them including the monarch wore 
anklets, a defensive armour. 1 Most of these correspond 
exactly to the implements both offensive and defensive 
of the ancient Mycenean culture. This would bear the 
weight of inference that these simple arms of offence 
and defence were a characteristic feature of all ancient 
warfare in the then civilized world. 


In dealing with the art of war, mention must be made 
of the tactics of war. Under this category the defences form 
an important item. It is well known that early South 
India was a land of forests and jungles. Herein abounded 
a large niumber of ferocious hunters and robbers who 
were not infrequently disturbers of peace to the civil 
population. Besides there were a number of petty chief- 
tains, ruling over small territories, who were, by inclination 
and attitude and rarely by any call of necessity, engaged 

iKanakasabai, Tamils 1800 Years Ago, pp. 130-31, 
30 , 


in war among themselves. It is however reasonable 
to suppose that there were enlightened kings whose 
thirst for honour and renown induced them to undertake 
conquest on an extensive scale and earn an undying 
name in the world. This is what the Sanskritists 
say: gQm jitva divwn jayati. The conquest of domi- 
nions is a short road to the attainment of the chief 
place in heaven, Indrahood. The Cola king Karikalan 
and his successor Cetcerminalarikilli ,( about A.D. 95) 
had no other object in extending their sway over vast 
kingdoms. This was not the nuling passion of the 
monarchs alone. It was also the vivifying principle 
sacred to every warrior who bowed to it in silence. The 
conception of Virasvarga 1 was so preponderating that 
if warrior kings met with their death naturally owing to 
old age, and not on the field of action, it was a peculiar 
custom to make the dying man lie on a bed of kusa 
grass and have him cut with a sword, th PurdhiM 
chanting special mantras. The idea was that it was 
equal to being slain on the theatre of war. 2 

When the martial spirit was so rife, it is no wonder 
that there were incessant wars among the neighbouring 
kings of the ancient Tamil land. To shelter the civil 
population from the cruel jaws of marauding hunters, 
robbers, and other enemies of the kingdom, practically 
every village and town of Dravida was guarded by an 
impregnable fortress, surrounded by unscalable walls, 
deep moat, and extensive and thick forests withoiut. 3 
The fortifications of Uraiyur, Avur in the Cola territory, 
of Madura, Kanci, 4 and Karuvur seem to have been 
strongly built and well furnished. The battlements and 

* Aham 61, comment on Tolkap. A hat. S&tra, 44. 
tkalai, xxiii, 10-15 ; P#row, 93. 
f 21. 

Ind, 'Ant., vol. 40, p. 227, 


ramparts, were provided with mechanical contrivances by 
which stones, burning oil and molten metal were thrown 
on the besiegers attempting to scale the walls. There have 
been curious devices in the shape of monkeys, king- 
fisher, sow, vulture, serpent, horse and swan referred to 
both in the Silapp\adikaram* .and the Jivakadnt&mam.* 
There were again in existence Kid\ahg\as or war trenches 
one of the most ancient species of ramparts perhaps in 
use before the introduction of mural fortification. These 
are found in Coorg and Travancore and resemble some 
of the earthworks of ancient Britons, stretching for 
several miles through the thick of forests or encircling 
the hill tops. Some of these trenches are forty feet 
deep. Inscriptions, dated A.D. 781 and 977, refer to 
them. 3 

The siege was sometimes long and protracted, 
possibly to wear out the enemy. This not unnaturally 
led to the starvation of the soldiers and spreading of 
famine among the inmates of the fort as exemplified in 
the siege of Avur by the Colan Nalankilli against the 
rebel Nedunkilli. There is again a reference to the 
defence of his fort by Vengaimarban when it was besieg- 
ed by Ukkirap-peru-valudi, the king of Madura. 4 Two 
methods were used to get at the fortress. One was to 
fill up the ditch and scale the wall by means of a ladder. 8 
The other was to make fierce elephants batter the 
ramparts and force their way into the capital. 6 
These favourably compare with what the remarkable 
aiuthor of that celebrated treatise, the Arthasastra, 
has said. " ' ~~*^ ?$$ 

In dealing with the defences, mention may be made of 

1 Book i, 11. 101-4. 2 xv, 1L 207-17. 

* $. I. I. Annual Report, 1916-17, p. 37. 4 P^ram t 21. 
8 Tolk&p. Po*u\., 68. 

K*r<xl ch. 75 ; Pufam, 3, 6, 13 and 14, 


the institutions of ambassadors and spies. Ambassadors 
are found referred to in earlier works of Tamil literature 
like the Tolkappipawf and the Silapfiadikaram. Accord- 
ing to the lattfe|vj|fe&guttuvan had a number of dittos, the 
chief of whom tyfcre Sanjaya and NTla. Under them 
there were about 1,000 messengers. This denotes a large 
class of messengers who were also sent to the states of 
the neighbouring enemy kings. We can easily realize 
the magnitude of the army establishment under this king 
from this big establishment of the diitas* It was a 
custom to send ambassadors before the preliminaries of 
war were settled. 

The Kmal has an interesting chapter on the qualifi- 
cations and functions of an ambassador. It rules thus : s 
An ideal ambassador is one who is loved by and is loving 
towards all, who has come of an ancient noble family 
and who is possessed of such estimable qualities 
as loyal affection to the king, deep sagacity, and persua- 
sive power of speech. He must also be versed in all the 
current legal and moral and political codes, and above 
all must possess a commanding personality. When deli- 
vering his sovereign's message he must state it clearly 
and briefly and with pleasant suavity of manners and 
expression, scrupulously avoiding harsh and offensive 
language. Unimpeachable in his character and condiuct, 
he must be superior to all temptations. He must 
successfully conduct his mission according to the time 
and place, fearless even of personal consequences. The 
office of ambassador was so important that any insult 
offered to envoys did not go unpunished. It is said 
that the great Rajarajacola (A.D. 985) who conquered 

1 Porul, 25. From this it -seems that Brahmanas were generally sent as 

* Canto, xxvi, U. 137-8; Ibid., xxviii, 1, 109. 
, cfa, <0, 


killed eighteen princes in retaliation for insult 
offered to his ambassador. 1 

The other important institution i^ that of spies. 
Spies of different status and in diffefdlt disguises went 
about the enemy's camp and kingdom vto gather infor- 
mation in regard to the movements of the king and his 
army and faithfully to report it to their headquarters. 2 
When Seriguttuvan prepared himself for war, he did not 
feel called upon to send any ambassador, for he said that 
the spies of his enemy wandering in his State were sure 
to take the information more quickly and more promptly 
than his own ambassador. 3 This only demonstrates 
the fact that the system of espionage was largely 
prevalent and was even a regular feature of ancient mili- 
tary administration. According to the Kural the two 
necessary eyes of a king are the spies and a knowledge of 
the D\ 4 He must not put implicit trust in 
his spies but must watch their movements by setting 
other spies over them. The safest course for a king is 
not to act upon the report of a single spy but to take 
action only on the concurrent report of three spies sent 
out on the same errand independently and unknown to 
each other. Thus, both the ambassador and the spies 
are responsible for 'information* in war which denotes, 
according to Claoisewitz, the knowledge of the enemy and 
his country. A study of these institutions reminds one of 
the Kmitallya Artfaasdstra wherein similar rulings and 
recommendations are given. 


An expedition was to be undertaken after getting a 
fiull knowledge of the enemy's strength by means of 

i Indian Antiquary, vol. 22, p. 142. 2 Tolkap. Porul, 58. 

* Silafpadikawm, canto xxv, 1L 173-6, *Kuraf, ch. 59. 


spies and ambassadors. A general ultimatum was given 
to the enemy-kings, saying that such of those as would not 
obey of their own accord would be submitted to the horrors 
of war. 1 Even after this if the enemy did not show signs 
of obedience, war was resolved upon. This resolution 
was undertaken after a careful consideration of the place 
and time. 2 From the sulra (76) of the Tolkappiyam, the 
general season for expeditions was kutirpvrwvam 
roughly October to December, while the conquering 
monarch could set out on march during the venirparu- 
vam roughly March and April, if he felt sufficiently strong 
for it. 3 

On the eve of the march in order to infuse spirit and 
encouragement into the minds of the soldiers, the king 
used to feed them sumptuously. This is styled as 
Perunicorrunilai* by the Tolkappiyttm* The king usually 
set out on the march on an auspicious day fixed by the 
astrologer. Worship was offered in the local temples 
with prayers for victory. It is said that Seriguttu- 
van offered worship to both Siva and Visnu when 
he left for North India. If, owing to unforeseen 
circumstances, the king could not start on his journey 
at the fixed time, it was a custom to place the 
sword and the umbrella on the state-elephant and keep 
them outside the city gate as panastihanam* This 
is styled as twtkol by the grammarian. 7 After this 

(Katcikkadai), canto xxv, 11. 183-94. 
* MudmnoUkkafici, iv. 2. 
8 Cf Manu, vii. 182. 
*$/r Qeuesfl 


5 See Pvrul S&tra, 63, and the commentary of Naccitjirkkitpyar 

Silappadik&ram, canto xxvi, 11. 33-45. 
7 wrilC?*/rr To/. Port*/. Sutra, 68. 


the king followed in procession with all his para- 
phernalia. The wearisomenes of the march was 
enlivened by dancing and musical performances by 
professionals. It is obvious to note that a number of 
dancing girls and musicians of the fair sex formed a part 
of the commissariat. It is said that as many as 400 such 
persons followed Senguttuvan. The chief items of the 
commissariat were cart-loads of food-stuffs and other 
articles of use with a large establishment in charge. As 
many as 20,000 carriages and a thousand men formed the 
commissariat of Seriguttuvan's army. With such elabo- 
rate arrangements, then, the army used to set out on 
march, the route being previously reconnoitred by men 
sent for the purpose. 1 


The Pttrattinaiyiyal of the Tolkappiyam refers to 
various kinds of war operations which are primarily 
divided into five vetci, vahji, ulinai, hwmhai, and v&hai> 
corresponding respectively to the five lurais or conven- 
tions. As the different incidents referred to herein are 
elaborately explained in the Venbainahi,* we proceed to 
examine that work. 

In the Pwmpporul Vcnbamalal to which we have had 
occasion to refer, there are elaborate details with regard 

1 See Venbamdlai, Vetcippatalaw, st. 6. 

2 Though thei Veqb&mdlai is generally taken to be a work of the seventh 
or eighth century AD., yet much of the matter it contains is very old. 
According to the commentator of the Tolktypiyam, Peririyar, the Veyb&- 
m&lai is based on the original and more ancient work Pavyirupafalam, 
literally 'The twelve Chapters/ which is, according to tradition, a com- 
position of the disciples of the sage Agastya. (See the the commentary on 
Tol. Marapiyal, sfitra, 94) . 


to the different stages of a military enterprisfe. 1 Here 
the author distinguishes eight kinds of operations. The 
following is a categorical list of these operations. 

1. The vetci flower, Ixom coccinia, commonly 
called 'Flame of the Forest', refers here to the 
cattle-raiders. The king who resolves to wage war with 
another, siummons his soldiers to bedeck themselves with 
garlands of vetci and go forth to capture and carry off 
the herds of cattle belonging to the enemy king. The 
raiders ride on hordes, armed with bows and spears, 
having already sent some scouts to reconnoitre. The 
hill fort is stormed and the cattle are seized and driven 
toward their capital. The spoils are divided and a feast 
is held. The raid commences and ends with the canteen. 
One feature of the celebration was the dance called the 

2. The karwtdai is a kind of tulasl or basil of which 
the rescuers make a wreath to be worn as their badge. 
The owners of the herds are summoned to hasten to the 

j^scue. They pursue the raiders and engage them in a 
TSattle. But they return home unsuccessful. 

3. The wanji wreath is the symbol of a regular 
invasion. The vanfi is a common creeping plant 
found on mountain slopes. The insulted king gathers 
his forces of elephants and warriors with swords 
and resolves to attack the conquering monarch. The 
soldiers heroically fight, devastate the country aind burn 

1 The book is divided into twelve main chapters, containing 361 quatrains 
each chapter treating of one tivai and thus follows in substance the Panniru- 
pafaloMr. Of these twelve tfoais, the first seven come under the category of 
Puram, the eighth, ninth and tenth, under the category of P^rappwram and 
the last two under Ahafpuram. This division of the matter and the plan of 
the book seem to confirm that the matter it treats of is old, at least as old as 
the Sangam works. It is closely allied in subject and tone to the 
Parwtftfflrw and the Tolk&ppiyam (see G. U. Pope, in the Tamilian 
Antiquary, 1910). 


the city. The spoils are distributed and the vanquished 
chieftain offers submission and tribute. Houses of 
Brahmanas, temples and salas of ascetics are not, however, 
molested, though they are of the foe. 

4. The Kanci is the Ulmus intergrifolia or elm tree 
with dark foliage* Garlands o its flowers were worn by 
the defenders of an invaded kingdom indicating their 
firm resolve to conquer or to die. The soldiers decked 
with kanci flowers determine to make another last effort 
in their fortress. The battle is over. Men and animals 
fall dead. Heroic wives perish with their fallen heroes. 
A universal wail deafens the atmosphere. The heroes 
find an honoured place in heaven. The conquered 
people are completely crushed, no more to rise. 

5. The defence of the fort went by the appellation 
of noccittinai. The nocci is the Viten nirgundi, a wild 
plant of leaves and flowers. The warriors in nocci 
garlands ascend their strongholds to shoot forth deadly 
arrows so as to defeat and drive back the besiegers. 

6. The action of the besiegers attacking the enemy's 
fort is designated as Ulinaittmai. The Ulinai is the 
Oerua lantar, a variety of cotton plant. The besiegers 
cut down the neighbouring fortresses and make out of 
them rafts to cross the moat. The conqueror scales the 
walls with ladders and gets a forcible entrance into the 
fortress. The town is ploughed with asses, the walls are 
pulled down, and the whole territory is laid waste. The 
prowess of the conqueror is dreaded even by other 
monarchs who seek voluntary submission. 

7. The tumhaittinai represents war in general. The 
tumhai is the Phlornis Indiaa, the drona of Sanskrit. 
The conquering monarch feels the monotony of life 
and thirsts after war. He is aware of its horrors and 
seems to hesitate at first. But when once he feels 



the necessity for it, he does not go hack. He awards 
rich gifts to his soldiers so as to infuse fresh spirit into 
their minds. All the four arms of the army are pressed 
into service. The battle is fought and heroes meet with 
a glorious death. 

8. The Vahai (Minws\a flectuosa) is of white flowers 
symbolical of victory and peace. The conqueror wears 
the garland of vahai and girds himself with a purple 
cincture. The victory is celebrated in different ways. 
The Brahmanas perform yajnas, the v&isyas attend to 
agriculture and commerce. The Velalas join in the 
chorus of victory by their faithful toil. The heroic 
mother celebrates it with all glee and joy. There is 
universal jubilation. 

A passing mention may now be made of other 
features and curiosities of warfare in ancient South 
India. The consultation of auguries, 1 the worship of the 
war-goddess KorrMai with the sacrificial offerings, 
dance and song, and the distribution of food and drink 
and largesses to soldiers on the eve of the march, the 
drunken revels with which a victory is celebrated, 
widowed women unwilling to be separated from their 
dead husbands, proceeding to the field of encounter in 
search of their bodies and embracing them and giving /up 
their lives then and there, or entering the funeral pyre 
along with their husband's wound-covered bodies, 2 appear 
to have been common practices. 

To the above may be added the employment of 
the camel in fight as in that of Kalingam and the capture 
of women as legitimate prizes in war. Contempt for 

mentions nine evil portents. 

, p. 34, st. 13 and p. 38, st. 22. a/<K/0& st 29 
. t vol. 13). 


the defeated enemy was shown by attaching to the 
standard of victory a ball and doll which tended to 
signify perhaps his effeminate character. 1 

Among the other peculiarities of ancient warfare in 
South India may be mentioned the part played by the 
heroic mothers of Tamil Nadu. The weaker sex of the 
ancient fighting communities were none the less the 
better sex. 2 To them, the military achievements by their 
near and dear ones were something sacred and inviolable. 
They would rather be husbandless and sonless than 
allow their country to incur the odium of defeat and dis- 
grace. They allowed their husbands and sons to 
sacrifice themselves, if need be, at the altar of the battle- 
field for the sake of God, crown and country. It is said 
that, when a mother heard of the death of her only son 
on the field of action, she ran to the field to see whether 
he died by getting a wound either at the back or at the 
breast, taking a vow that if he had fallen owing to a 
wound on the back she would cut off her breasts that 
gave milk to him. 8 For, it was deemed a disgrace to 
die in the field with wounds received on their hacks. 
To quote one classic example, when the Cera king 
Atan II was wounded on the back at the battlefield of 
Vennil by Karikalan, the king of the Colas, he sought a 
voluntary death. 4 From the following ode in the 

Q&tm pfe** 

Ttrumuru, ii, 67 and 68. 

278-9, also Ve^b&mAlai verses 175-6. 
M. R&ghava Ayyangar's contribution in Sen Tamii vol. v. 
65 and 66. 


we find that the poetess Ponmudiyar sent her son to the 
field of battle and was happy. This only shows how heroic 
the ancient men and women of South India were. 

Some other features of ancient warfare may be 
mentioned. On the eve of military expeditions it was 
usual that the royal priest uttered words of encourage- 
ment to soldiers drawn in array. The chief officers of 
the state also tendered words of advice. The king set 
out at the auspicious hour fixed by the astrologer. This 
well-nigh corresponds to what Kautalya has recom- 
mended in his treatise. With the above-mentioned 
formalities Ceran Senguttuvan, son of Atan II about 
A.D. 90 set out on an expedition to the Himalayas. 1 

In these expeditions it was a custom that bards 
accompanied the kings to the field encouraging the 
soldiers now and then and making them ever spirited. 
This class of minstrels was known as Poritinar. They 
carried with them a small drum which, if soiunded, was 
an indication for the army to commence its march. 2 In 
times of peace they sang the glories of ancient heroes. 
This idea is more or less in line with Kautalya's dictum 
that the Purohita follows the king to the theatre of war 
and instils spirit into the soul of the army by his stirring 
words. However this may be, it is evident that the war- 
chants sung by these Tamil bards contributed much 
towards the successful termination of conflicts. There 
were two classes of poems, the pamni and uld. Parani 
describes ,a campaign where a hero is said to have 
killed at least a thousand elephants. Kalingattup- 
pw<mi is an example of this type. Uld again is a poem 
giving a picture of royal procession accompanied by 
flags, musical instruments and other retinue. The poems 

1 Stfop., cantos xxv to xxx. 


of this class are those by Ottakuttar on Vikramacola, 
Kulottunga II, and Rajaraja II of the twelfth century 
A.D. That the hards accompanied the king to the 
field of operations is sufficiently manifest from the 
Purananfim and Takaduryattirw 1 wherein the names 
of the bards of the Cola and Cera kings are mentioned. 
Kalattalaiyar was the bard of the Cera king Atan I 
and Vennik-kuyattiyar was the poetess of the Cola 
king. 2 

Another curiosity of warfare was to fell the guardian 
tree (kavalmamm) of the enemy and make out of the cut 
trunk a war drum. It would appear that each Tamil 
chief grew a special tree which was the symbol of his 
sovereignty. To fell that tree amounted to capturing 
the chieftain's flag. An instance of this is furnished 
when Imayavaramban Nedunjeralatan felled the kadvmbu 
tree in an island which he captured. 3 

These are not all. Vlmkhals or herostones plant- 
ed on the grave-yards of soldiers fallen during the 
conflict have been found scattered in all parts of South 
India. 4 This vtnakkal is known in Tamil literature as 
nadukal. There were six stages in the planting 
of this stone according to Tolkappiyanar. These were 
to find out the appropriate stone, to fix an auspicious 
hour for carving out the image and inscribing, to get the 
stone bathed in sacred waters, to plant it in the place 

1 This is an ancient work celebrating the battle of Takadur between 
Peruficeral Irumporai and Adigaman. The work is now lost but 
there are quotations f,rom it in the commentary of Naccinarkkiniyar on the 
Tolktippiyam. In the commentary on the sfttras 63 and 67, AriSil Kilar and 
Ponmucjiyar are said to have addressed the soldiers in the field. 
2 Pwrom, 65 and 66. 

"See History of the Tamils, pp. 500-1; Aham, 347, 11. 3-5; also 127. 
*S. I. I. Annual Report, 1912 and 13 (Anantapur and Cuddapah Dts,). 
1913 14 (NUgiris). 
191"6 17 (Coorg, etc.). 


already fixed and to celebrate it as a deity. 1 An epitaph 
dated A.D. 936 runs as follows : 

'Prosperity! In the 9th year of King Parakesari 
Varman who conquered Madura when cattle were lifted 
at Muttukur by the Perumanadigal, Vedunavaran 
Varadan Tandan, having recovered them fell.' 2 

Marakkfinci 3 is one of the ten sub-divisions of 
dnp&rkanci* of the Kancitttmxi referred to in the 
Pwattinaiyiyal of the J^olkappiyam. According to this, 
a wounded soldier with heroic impulses would not think 
of getting the wound cured thus to live again in this 
earth. As heroism would have it, he would further 
make the wound ulcerous and give up his life. 


In the description of the battle between Senguttuvan 
and the northern kings, Kanaka and Vijaya, there is 
mention of a number of musical instruments which 
were displayed on the occasion. Some 5 of them were 
kodumparai, nedwvayir, murasam, pandil, mayirkkan- 
wMra&am. It is said that some of these instruments 
deafened the atmosphere and created an echo from all 
the different directions. 6 


In dealing with the art of war as practised in 
South India, it would not be out of place to refer 


Sutra: See also Sen Tamil, vol. iii, p. 2; see ako 'Aham, 67 and 131; 
Pram, 263 and 264. 

Quoted by M. Srinivasa Ayyangar, Tamil Studies, p. 40; cf. T. A. 
Gopinatha Rao's article in Ceylon Ant., vol. i, p. 77 ff . 


Stiap, Kdik&tKMai, canto xxvi, 11.' 193 ff . 


to the maritime activities with which the ancient 
Tamils were greatly connected. There is every reason 
to believe that the ancient Tamils were a great sea-faring 
nation. Each of the great kings seems to have 
possessed and maintained a fleet of several ships. 
From many poems in the P\adirnipp\attu, one or two 
passages in the Ahananimi and some references in the 
Silappadikaram, it is evident that the ancient Cera, 
Cola and Pandya monarchs, through love of conquest 
and adventure, undertook and successfully conducted 
large maritime expeditions to far-off lands and islands. 

According to the Padirruppattu (second padikam) 
Imayavaramban Nedunjeralatan possessed a naval army 
and led an expedition to a neighbouring island and 
felled the Kadamha tree, the guardian tree of that chief- 
tain a sure sign of victory. 1 It would appear that Ceran 
Senguttuvan had a more organized naval force which 
showed its superiority in different naval fights. 2 These 
literary pieces of evidence are further confirmed by the 
more reliable source of information, viz., the inscriptions. 
Rajarajadeva, whose date of accession according to 
Professor Kielhorn is A.D. 985, is said to have destroyed 
the great fleet of the Ceras at the port Kandalur.* 
Again the same monarch is credited with having 
subjugated 12,000 islands besides Ceylon. The other 
great monarch who is connected with maritime expedi- 
tions is Rajendracola. He conquered the great and 
important sea-port Kadaram by fitting ooit a fleet of 
ships in the midst of the rolling sea. 4 Virarajendra I, 
again extended his conquest farther than India Kadaram, 

i CL Ahem, 127. 

*Padirru, 45 and 46, 48; Aham, 212; Stiap., canto, xxvii, 11. 119-21; 
m f 126. 

*S. /. /., vol. ii, part 5. 
., part 1, No. 20, 


Nicobar Islands and Ports on the coasts of Burma.* 
These, added to the several expeditions mentioned in the 
SaAgam works, are enough to bear eloquent testimony to 
the fact that naval warfare was not unknown to ancient 


Besides commercial and political relations with 
North India centuries before the Christian era, there 
existed commercial relation between South India on the 
one hand and Babylonia, Arabia and Egypt on the 
other. 8 In the beginning of the Christian era we find 
a growing trade between South India and Greece and 
Rome and especially with the latter. This was in 
addition to commercial transactions with Persia, Africa 
and China. The export of parrots and peacocks was a 

Commercial relations .always led to political adjust- 
ments and relations. Such continued and frequent 
intercourse not only with North India, but with other 
civilized countries beyond the Indian continent implies 
the necessity of the institution of a well-organized 
foreign office. Nearer home the ancient Tamil kings 
had to face serious responsibilities. The relations with 
North India and islands beyond the seas, such as Ceylon, 
became strained and stiffened in course of time, often 
resulting in huge wars. That South India had political 
relations ever since the age of the MahdHhamta war is 
evident from an ode in the Puram where reference is 
made to a king Ceralatan mndertaking the Big Feed of 
the belligerent forces in the Great War. Whether this 

* /. 7.,vol. iii (8), pp. 194-8. 

a See History of the Tamils, ch. vU, p. % ff; also Warmington 
Commerce betiveen Roman Empire and India, pp. 192-3: Schoff's 
Periphu, pp. 121-2, 171, J.R.A.S., 1917, p. 237. 

9 Set History, of the Tamils, ch. xiv and ch. xviii. 


is true or no, there are other evidences which demon- 
strate the expansion of the Empire under Karikar- 
colan and the Cera kings Imayavaramban and 
Seftguttuvan in the early centuries after the Christian 

Among the three early kings of South India, while 
the Pandyas could claim at best only a kingdom, the 
Colas and the Ceras could boast of an empire that 
extended as far as the distant Himalayas. It is difficult 
to believe that the extant accounts in the Sangam 
literature regarding the invasions of North India by 
South Indian kings of these early centuries are legendary 
and consequently of no historical value. We propose 
to credit them with some veracity and utilize them for 
purposes of history. 1 The works of the Sangam Age 
make pointed references to the invasions of North India. 
According to the Silappadikaram, Karikalan turned his 
covetous eyes on the fertile plains of the Hindustan. 
He marched uninterrupted as far as the heart of the 
great Himalayan mountains where he planted his tiger 
seal in glorious token of his successful march. On the way 
the kings of North Indian states such as Vajra, Magadha 
and Avanti, who had heard of his prowess, sought 
voluntary submission by offering tributes. It is said that 
these three kings presented to Karikalan a Canopy, a 
Hall of Audience, and a Triumphal Arch respectively. 
Barring some exaggeration, one has to admit the fact of 
invasion and submission by payment of tributes by the 
Northern kings, whatever be the kind of tribute offered. 2 

The same story is told of Imayavaramban Nedun- 
jeralatan, the Cera king. The details of his invasion 
are lacking. All that is known is that he extended his 

1 See T. G. Aravamuthan the KOvfri, the Maukharis and the Sangam 
e, pp. 58-9. 
Canto v, 11. 90-98. 


arms wide all over India and as far as the Himalayas. 
It is also said that he set his emblem which was the bow 
on the slopes of the lofty Himalayan range. 1 

We have more materials when we come to an 
examination of Senguttuvan's expedition against the 
North. Senguttuvan led two expeditions. The first 
expedition was the result of his ambition to get a block 
of Himalaya stone to make an image of his mother who 
sought death on her husband's funeral pyre. 2 The other 
expedition was undertaken to get another block of 
Himalayan stone to carve an image of the Pattini Devi, 
no other than Kannaki, the heroine of the Silapfiadi- 
karwm. It is said that his march was interrupted 
by two princes Kanaka and Vijaya 8 among others. They 
were routed and taken prisoners. 4 It is said these 
prisoners of war were ordered to carry that stone all the 
way to Ceranadu. 5 

The present study would be incomplete if we do not 
refer to the ethics of warfare as then prevalent in South 
India. War is held to be a necessity in Tennyson's Maud 
as an effective oure for the evils of peace. This was more 
or less the notion prevalent among the ancient Tamils. 
Hence, it could not be said that their ethical standard rose 
to any higher level. Mr. M. Srinivasa Ayyangar remarks 
that the ancient Tamils were ,a ferocious race of hunters 
and soldiers like the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians 
making war for the pleasure of slaying, plundering and 

i $ilopj>odikaram, canto, xxv, (K^ci) 1-3; see also Aham, 127, 11. 
3-5; Pflkftrr., ii. Padikam. 

*&lt*p. canto xxv; Katci, 11. 160-4, 28 (Na4ukal), 11. 119-21. 

*Ibid., xxvi, (Kalkot), 11. 188-220. 

*Ibid., 11. 225-30. 

8 For further details of these invasions, see Ktivfri, Mwkhari and the 
Sangam Age, p. 27 ff f 


devastating. In support of this statement he quotes 
chapter and verse from that great classic work Silappadi- 
karam* Possessed of such characteristics, it could not 
but be that most of their wars were aggressive in 
character. It was the rule among the so-called Aryan 
kings to take to war only as the last resort. Ways and 
means were taken to stay the war and avoid it as far as 
possible, for they were conscious of its cruelties, horrors 
and dangers. The means iused were chiefly three in 
number saina or conciliation, daua or gifts and bheda 
or dissension. These were tried one after the other and 
when all of them failed, only then, open battle was 
declared and entered upon. This seems not to have 
been in large practice in South India. Even the Cola 
kings at a much later period (tenth and eleventh centuries 
A.D.) entered into aggressive warfare. Still evidences 
are not wanting to go to prove that in the golden age 
of the Tamils, some means or other was used to avert 
a regular war. Thanks to the bards who were free 
lances and evoked respect even from the enemy kings, 
many a battle was indeed averted. They acted as 
mediators and arbitrators and brought about ,a reconcili- 
ation by negotiating with both the belligerent states . 
To mention one or two instances, Kovur Kilar struck up 
a compromise between the two Cola princes, Nedunkilli 
and Nalankilli, and thus avoided a war which would 
otherwise have proved an evil to the land. 2 That Kovur 
Kilar was a successful! mediator, is obvious from another 
similar and even more tragic case. When Killi-Valavan 
seized the little sons of his hostile vassal Malayaman, he 
ordered their heads to be crushed by an elephant. It 
was Kovur Kilar who saved the situation by his timely 
intervention on behalf of the little ones. 8 He easily 

SWHes, p. 41. zPuram, 47. sited., 46; see also 45. 


effected their release. Again it was Poygaiyar who by 
his immortal work Kialavali forty effected the release of 
the imprisoned Cera King Kanaikkal Irumporai. 1 Such 
tactful intercession on behalf of weak adversaries some- 
times failed also. For example, Alattur Kilar interceded 
on behalf of the people of Karuvur, Cera's capital, when 
the latter was besieged by the Cola king, but with no 
success. 2 

Not only were their wars aggressive but also their 
treatment of the vanquished was far from humane. 
Often the capital city was entered, burnt down or rased 
to the ground and plundered of all wealth and treasure. 
From the Purandnurii it is seen that after raising the 
standard of victory, the ruin of the capital was effected 
by ploughing the roads and streets with donkeys and 
sowing seeds of castor, cotton and other cereals. 8 
According to another stanza even the houses of Gods 
were not spared. 4 Surely the object seems to have 
been to convert the city into a jungle. This does not 
bespeak a high code of morality in practice . But, it would 
be an error to suppose that it was the only state of 
affairs, for there are a few cases of reinstating the defeat- 
ed monarch on terms of subordinate alliance or as 
tributary vassal. This was largely the practice of the 
later Cola sovereigns. A classical example is that of 
Kanakan and Vijayan, princes of North India, who 
were defeated by Senguttuvan and taken as prisoners. 
But on their submission, they were set free and sent back 
to their capitals, with all the paraphernalia due to a 
tributary chieftain. 8 

With such ideas of war one could not expect right- 
eous warfare in practice. In fact there was no war based 

* Kalingattu., st 182. 2 Ibid. ,36. * Ibid., 15. 

, 392, SUap., canto xxviii, 11. 195-202, 


on the cult of Dharma as Hindu law-givers understood 
it. But it could not be asserted that the ancient Tamils 
were devoid of either a code of chivalry or a code of 
ethics. There were indeed some humane laws of war. 
Non-combatants, such as Brahmanas versed in Vedic lore, 
women, the diseased, the aged, the sonless, and the 
sacred animals to boot, were previously warned to find 
secure homes inside the fortress lest they should be 
killed in the contest. 1 The Silappadikaram mentions 
the horrors of the war of Sengutluvan with the Northern 
kings, striking terror into the minds of the soldiers and 
others present. The latter cast off their arms and 
escaped in the guise of ascetics, Jaina monks, musicians 
and dancers, for these were not usually done injury to, 
as they came under the category of non-combatants, 
It is said that when the battle came to an end, the king 
ordered that the Brahmanas versed in Vedic lore and 
engaged in agnihotra performances must be accorded 
diue regard and should be protected at all costs. 2 

There is another ruling which says that the indolent, 
the sonless, the retreating, the hermaphrodite, the weapon- 
less, he who flies with dishevelled hairs, one who does not 
use equal weapons and soich others are not to be slain in 
battle. 3 These are some of the rules to be observed in 
righteous warfare ( Dharma- Yuddha) according to the 
Sanskritists. It would appear that the introduction of 
such healthy laws of war must have been when the 
people had passed the tribal stage and finally settled 
themselves in organized states. It may be again due to 
the influence of Aryan culture when, as it is believed, 

, 9. 

*Silap. t canto xxvi (K^kot-kadai), 11. 248-9. 

NacdgSrkkigiyar on the Tolkdppiyam, Poruf, S&trom 65; see also 
si 41. 


the Aryans migrated to South India and settled in large 

Further, slaying of men in great numbers in thef field 
was not considered a great distinction though it was 
indulged in largely. But it was reckoned a real feat of 
skill or valour if a warrior could slay even a single 
elephant. This only demonstrates the fact that the 
elephants were deemed so valuable and useful a com- 
modity in warfare that to disable, if not to kill one was to 
win the crown of wild olive. 1 Lastly, that the kings 
loved their soldiers and were solicitous towards the 
wounded and the disabled is sufficiently manifest. 
Nakklrar describes in felicitous terms how Neduii- 
jeliyan II behaved towards the wounded in his camp. 
At midnight, despite inclement weather, chill wind and 
drizzling rain, the king (used to leave his camp followed by 
a few attendants holding lighted torches to visit and 
make kind and sympathetic enquiries after each soldier 
suffering from pain. Usually a General would go in 
advance pointing out to the king the heroic men wound- 
ed in the previous day's fight. 2 From these and other 
similar references it would be logical to deduce the 
conclusion that the Tamilian code of ethics was not 
immoral but a-moral. 


To understand aright the mobilization of an army, the 
line of battle, encampment, the actual contest, the various 
weapons oised, the modes and methods of fighting, the 
descriptions of the field after battle, the consequences 
of the end of battle on both the victorious and the 
vanquished, the battle of Kalingam is here described. 

Tamils 1800 Yws Ago, p. 131. 

i (Pattuppfiffu, vii), 11 169-88. 


Though the actual battle took place in the eleventh 
century A.D., yet the method described follows the 
traditional system and is therefore of value to us. 

Anantapadman, the king of the Kalingas, had failed to 
pay customary tribute for two years to the Cola king 
Vijayataran, better known as Kulottunga I, who there- 
upon ordered a war to bring the recalcitrant king to his 
knees. Karunakaran, a really great general, volunteers to 
lead the army and is given the command. The armies 
are mobilized. With drums beating, conches and bugles 
blowing, pendants flying and banners floating so as to 
deafen and darken all round, the four-fold forces gather 
and get ready ; the elephants are like so many mountains, 
the horses like so many storm winds, the chariots like so 
many clouds, and the soldiers like so many fierce tigers. 
Then they march on in martial array with Karunakaran 
mounted on his mighty war-elephant at their head. 1 

Marching past the intervening parts they reach the 
frontier of the Kaliriga country and signalize their arrival 
by burning, sacking, and pillaging the outlying cities 
and villages with fire and sword. Frightened at this 
dreadful havoc, the people run with breathless haste and 
bewildering confusion to the capital and report to their 
king the hostile approach of a mighty force evidently 
despatched against them by the Cola king. On hearing 
this, the proud Kaliriga chieftain laughs a derisive laugh 
and speaks in disparaging terms of the power and the 
strength of the foe, and orders forth his armies to take 
the field instantly against the enemy. A mighty army 
soon musters from various parts, and the chariots, the 
cavalry, and the infantry move in serried ranks, the chariots 
rolling thunderously along, the horses clanking swiftly 
past and the soldiers marching briskly forward. 

* Kalingattvpparam, st. 331-50. 


The two armies are now face to face and at a given 
signal the Kalinga forces begin to charge, the air being 
filled with the twang of the innumerable bows and war- 
like shouts of the soldiers. The Kalinga forces advance 
and encounter the enemy. A deadly fight ensues, steeds 
fighting with steeds, elephants encountering elephants, 
chariots dashing against chariots, foot-soldiers attacking 
foot-soldiers and princes opposing princes. The archers 
then discharge a regular shower of arrows with such a 
deadly effect that blood flows in rivers across the field 
with the mangled and mutilated remains of the fallen 
elephants and soldiers floating on them. 1 

The collision of the tusks of the opposing elephants 
produces sparks of fire from which immediately the flags 
take fire and the whole field is enveloped in clouds of 
smoke. With their tusks intertwined, they push them 
home into each other's forehead. Before the on-rushing 
elephants, the bold warriors expose their dauntless 
breasts and with their weapons fell down their tusks. 

Against the archers ready to discharge their arrows 
the cavalry rush impetuously, but the fatal darts bring the 
horse and warrior down. From the death-dealing 
darts and other missiles of the Cola soldiers, the Kalingas 
shelter themselves with their shields, closely forming a 
solid bulwark, but with little avail. The spears and 
javelins pierce through the shields and effect wide 
openings. Here some warriors with the arrows in 
their quivers exhausted, pull out the arrows sticking in 
their body and discharge them. Others with no weapons 
on hand instantly snatch off the lances sticking out of 
the foreheads of elephants lying dead close at hand and 
hurl them. When the battle was at its hottest, 
the general Karunakaran rushes to the front on his 

*lbid, t 350-406. 


war-elephant and his presence inspires fresh spirit and 
courage in his troops who thereupon fight with 
redoubled vigour and fury. Elephants and horses 
immeasurably fell dead and the whole field is thickly 
bestrewn with their mutilated limbs and mangled bodies 
together with the shattered wrecks of chariots and 
splintered spears, the broken arrows and the trunks 
of several warriors. Swarms of crows and kites flock 
about to feast upon the dead bodies. And the proud 
Kalinga army with their thousand elephants in rout and 
confusion fly from the field dashing to the ground their 
high hopes and vain vaunts of their sovereign. To 
escape pursuit and capture, some of the fugitives take 
refuge and hide themselves in mountain caves, sjub- 
terranean caverns or dense jungles. 1 Some plunge into 
the sea and swim off and some screen themselves in the 
dismembered bodies of dead elephants. All the men 
having thus fallen or fled, an immense booty consisting 
of many elephants, horses, camels, chariots and treasure 
chests, with a large number of maidens falls into the 
hands of the victors. Having secured all this valuable 
booty the Cola general desires to take the Kalinga 
chieftain prisoner and to carry him in triumph to his 
sovereign. He sends emissaries in all directions to 
search his whereabouts, to make a very close search in 
every nook and corner and they return to report that 
they could find no trace of the king, but that they found 
an army of his, lying on the top of a high hill. The 
general orders a strong detachment to proceed to the 
spot in question and surround and subdue the army 
entrenched therein. The place is stormed and taken 
and all are put to the sword except a few who, disguising 

i Kalingattupparani, 405-26. 
33 , 


themselves as Jains, or Buddhists, or Brahmana pilgrims, or 
wandering minstrels sue for mercy and escape with their 
lives. Having thus laid waste the whole of the sea-coast 
kingdom of Kalinga, and planting there a pillar of victory, 
Karunakara Tondaiman, lord of the Vandaiyar returns 
and lays at the feet of his master all the spoils of war. 1 

*For other details see M. Raghava Ayyangar's 
" i t 40-44. 



AN attempt is made here to study the town and city 
life of the Tamil people from the earliest times. 
This picture of the people is drawn from a study 
of the literature of the period. Contemporary literature 
and tradition as transmitted in lierary records supply us 
with materials with which we have to construct our 
history. For Tamil literature, like her sister literature 
the Sanskrit, does not contain any books devoted to the 
subject of history proper. The ancients perhaps realized 
that the life of the people as portrayed in literature would 
be better and far more interesting than the mere dry 
bones of history with arithmetical chronology. Accord- 
ingly they have bequeathed to us a rich legacy of litera- 
ture of which any civilized nation may feel legitimately 

V\anjik-Karuvur, the Cer\a Capital. The location of 
this ancient city of Vanji or Karuvur has been the subject 
of much controversy which has now been set at rest, we 
hope, by the identification of it with the present Karur 
in Trichinopoly district. 1 We do not intend to go 
into the merits of the question as we are here con- 
cerned only with town life. The Sarigam works 
generally mention this town frequently and this points 
to its importance. 2 Every town of importance had 
a strong fortification rourid it. So also Karuvur had 

1 See M. Raghava Ayyangar, CSran Sengutpttvan and R. Raghava Ay- 
yangar VanjimOnagar (1917), pp. 161-87, see S'.J.E. An. Rep. 192&, 
p. 50. 

*Puram, 11 and 387; Sir*pQ$> 50; Silap., canto xxvi, line 50, 
60 especially the gloss. 


a strong fortress. Outside the fortress were the temples, 
tolas, mathas, where lived ascetics and penance-performers. 
Between the fort-walls and these, there was a deep moat. 
The intervening space between the moat and the walls 
of the fortress was a defence-forest Kavarkadu* The 
walls of the fortress were fully equipped with armed men, 
and war implements. The gateway had a lofty gopuram 
defended by guards. This gate led on to a number of 
streets where fish, salt, liquor, sweetmeats, meat, etc., 
were offered for sale. Next to these streets were others 
which were places of residence to the potters, copper- 
smiths, bronzesmiths, goldsmiths, carpenters, tailors, 
makers of garlands, astrologers, pamr or bards, vendors 
of gems and pearls. Beyond these, there were streets 
of Brahmanas, the raja-marga and the streets of royal 
officers. In the heart of the fortress-city there was the 
royal palace which contained the durbar hall, the coun- 
cil chamber, and the dancing hall. The same description 
of fortress, containing broad and busy streets, is found 
in regard to the cities of Madura and Kafici. 2 We 
are told that the palace was lighted with lamps held by 
statues of metal made by the Y&wmaSj under the super- 
vision of night watchmen who attended to the oiling of 
the lamps. 8 We do not know whether this arrangement 
of lighting was also extended to the streets of the city. 
Mention is also made of temples of guardian deities, in 
whose honour festivals were often held so that the city 
might not be visited by calamities providential or other- 
wise. There were besides hotels where food and sweet- 
meats were offered for sale. 4 What is more remarkable 
is the mention of a museum in the city. 5 

s See Maditraikktnci, 11. 351 ff. 
*AT*rima/, 11. 101-4, cf. Perumpai? 316-7. 
*Mad*nkk4fici t 11. 624-7. * Ibid. 1. 677. 


Pith&r, <an ancient city. Among the ancient cities of 
Tamil land the most famous was Puhar, the capital of 
the Cola monarchs. The vestiges of the ancient town 
cannot be even traced to-day. Puhar was the other name 
for Kavirippumpattinam. Puhar simply means any city 
or town at the mouth of the river. From referring in 
general to any sea-port town situated at the mouth of a 
river, it came to be later identified specially, with 
Kavirippumpattinam so much so that Puhar did not 
mean any other city than Kavirippumpattinam. 1 This 
famous town must have been on the spot where the 
holy river Kaviri now falls into the sea. This was therefore 
at some distance from the present town of Mayavaram. 
Either the city has been devoured by the unceasing 
waves of the furious sea or has fallen into irrecoverable 
ruin through continued neglect ,and carelessness. 
Whatever the cause of its decay, it is obvious that once 
it was a highly flourishing centre, a great commercial 
place, a rich town, the capital of the Cola monarchs for 
several hundreds of years. 

Ilanko-Adigal, the author of the celebrated Sangam 
classic SilapfiadikaKom, speaks of this Puhar or Pum- 
puhar as containing very ancient families. 2 If to the 
author of the second century A.D. the people settled 
in Puhar were of very ancient families, we can easily 
imagine how old and flourishing a city must Puhar 
have been. The city was unique in every respect. The 
people living there belonged to different communities 

1 Kavirippumpattipam became such a famous city that the term 'patti- 
gam' in the Sangam literature or later days meant only Kaviripattigam. In 
illustration we can quote the treatise entitled the Paffinappdlai dealing with 
this ancient city. Again the name of the author of the poems found in the 
eleventh Tirttmurai, goes after the name of this old town, Pattinattup- 
pillaiyai- (about the tenth century A.D ). It reminds us of the fact that to-day 
means only Madras city. In the same way in those days 

meant the famous Puhar. 

Se* 7am*/, vol. tv. 


and yet there was no unhealthy spirit of jealousy and 
hatred among them. 

Merchant communities in the city. Though we have 
reason to believe that members of different communities 
had their abodes in that ancient city, still the most 
influential community in the city seems to have been 
the merchants. Commerce by land and commerce by 
sea were their profession. These merchants had such a 
prosperous and flourishing trade that they amassed 
mountains of wealth. Puhar became one of the wealthiest 
towns of South India. This only shows that the ancient 
Tamils were forward in commerce. We know that trade 
and commerce are an index to a country's prosperity. 
With such an active enterprise, these commercial classes 
would have been very rich and consequently influential. 

Flourishing international trade. Puhar was then a 
city overflowing with milk and honey. The wealth of 
the merchant classes surpassed the wealth of the ruling 
chieftain. In that city in any season of the year, there 
would be found a host of foreigners probably those 
who had commercial intercourse with South India, 
always coming and going and transacting business in 
the public market of the city. The market of the city 
was of huge dimensions. There any article which one 
desired could be got without fail. The articles were 
not only indigenous but also foreign. It is said that 
foreign merchandise of all sorts flooded the market 
streets of Puhar and the little Puhar put on the appear- 
ance of an island wherein the whole world encircled by 
the sea came to stay. It seems no exaggeration to 
remark that every country of the then known world had 
something or other to do with the capital of the ancient 
C61a kingdom. This is testified to by other valuable 
sources of evidence. The find of Roman coins, and 


other coins of equal value, and the records of the foreign 
travellers and visitors bear testimony to the .active 
commercial relations between South India and the then 
known civilized world. With markets flooded with 
articles of different kinds and varieties catering for the 
needs and tastes of different classes of people, and with 
heaps of wealth, and with the protection afforded by the 
king of the land, Puhar was 'an ideal place for fashion- 
able and rich men to spend a part of the year in. 

Progress in the arts. One sure test of a nation's 
culture and greatness is the degree of its advance in 
architecture and allied arts. That Puhar contained 
some lofty and magnificent buildings is evident from the 
phrase Nedwnilaimadam.' 1 This expression connotes 
the idea that the building in question was several 
storeys high, and the floor referred to in the text must 
therefore be the central one. 2 Seven-storeyed buildings 
seem to have been common and were a familiar feature 
of ancient Tamil cities like Kavirippumpattinam. The 
erection of such huge and lofty buildings would not 
be possible without a corresponding development 
in the technique of architectural engineering. So 
we may take it that high engineering skill was developed 
in those days, and magnificent buildings were the result. 
But the windows of these buildings were different from 
those to which we are now accustomed. 8 They were 

ii, 1. 13, canto xiii, 1. 69. 
2 The six floors, leaving the ground floor for the establishment, suggest 
that they were intended for use in the respective seasons of the year. The 
whole year was divided into six seasons (ritus) of two months each^spring, 
summer, winter, autumn, etc., and each floor was suitable for one particular 
season* Apparently, the top-floor was used in summer and the floor next 
below in spring and so on. These people who enjoyed such lovely things 
are compared to the happy dwellers in the country of the Uttarakurus, the 
ideal land of bliss and enjoyment for those who had won it through the 
practice of high virtue and penance. 
,, 11. 23-4; Iforf., iv, 1. S3. 


what can be called lattice windows with holes in the 
shape of the eyes of a deer. 1 These windows so-called 
were beautifully ornamented and richly decorated. 

Appropriate to the lovely and well-ventilated build- 
ings, happy enjoyment and overflowing riches, there 
was a superb supply of attractive furniture with choice 
decorations born of a highly developed knowledge in 
fine arts. Well furnished cots and beds were a perma- 
nent feature of the house. It is said that the stands of 
the cot were inlaid with lustrous gems of rare value in 
very well-to-do families and appeared in workmanship 
and finish like that done by Mayan, the carpenter of the 
Gods. Making indeed due allowance for poetic de- 
scriptions and play of imagination, we cannot escape the 
conclusion that Puhar was once a famous and rich city 
with well-laid streets and highly attractive buildings. 
Trade and commerce prospered. The people were rich 
and above want. Life was enjoyable. The king 
extended his hand of protection, and assured peace and 
security to all his srubjects. 

The statm of women. It would thus appear that 
wealthy people inhabited the cities and their life was 
one of luxury and ease. Social life was very much 
enlivened by women participating freely in the amenities 
of life. They attended temples and tanks and took 
part in the public dances. They were allowed consider- 
able freedom in the choice of their partners of life. 
They decked themselves with costly attire and orna- 
ments and made themselves attractive. The dress of 
course varied according to their position in society. In 
the age of the Porumrarmppadai, the Tamils knew the 
manufacture of cloths of fine texture with borders of 
different colours. 8 The yarn was so fine that the 

*See also Patfaappabi, 157, Ml. 82-3, cf. $*rupto> 1. 236. 


texture looked like the skin of the serpent and thin like 
the smoke. 1 Clothes were largely of cotton. Weaving 
in wool stood next, and last came clothes of silk. 8 Both 
woollen and silk cloths did not advance beyond the 
crude stage as they were not in wide demand. Accord- 
ing to the commentator of the Silappadikamm, cloth 
was also made of rat's hair. 3 It would appear that a 
good deal of spinning was done by women. 4 The 
aesthetic sense was so much developed that in addition 
to fine dress, they decorated their persons with jewels of 
pearl and gold. Decoration again consisted in painting 
the body with scented paste and powders and in wearing 
garlands of flowers. 'Women wore a cap of pearls for 
the mammae which were tied by means of a belt, 

Prostitutes. There were special streets for courte- 
sans and public woman. It would appear that fashionable 
young men resorted to their residences and spent their 
time there caring little for their wedded wives. It led 
in some cases to the utter ruin of one's own fortune, 
as in the case of Kovalan. Hertce the chaste ladies of 
the town took care to guard their husbands from falling 
under the seductions of harlots. There is an ode in 
the Narrinai (320), where a woman gives expression to 
this idea and shows how she had failed in her attempt to 
save her husband. In this ode it is said that harlots 
with leaf garment passed through the streets so as to 
attract young men of the place, thus striking terror into 
the minds of the housewives. 

Ideal of feminine beauty. People with such high 
aesthetic sense had a lofty ideal of feminine beauty. 
The following is one of the numerous descriptions of 

ipurom, 397-8. *Ponrnar, 11, 154-5. 

Canto xiv, 11. 205-7. *Pu<wm, 125. 

*N<ft*lva4*i 136. See also P'e-Aryan Tamil Cvltwv, pp* 


feminine charms in the Pormw&rruppada? : The 
songstress had hair like the black sand on the sea- 
shore; her fair forehead was like the crescent moon; 
her eyebrow bent like the bow that kills; the outer end 
of her cool eyes was beautiful, her sweetly speaking 
mouth was red like the sheath of the fruit of the silk cotton 
tree; her spotlessly white teeth were like rows of many 
pearls; her ears were like the curved handles of scissors, 
and their lobes were shaking with bright ear-rings shaped 
like the crocodile. Her neck was bent down with modesty ; 
her shoulders were like the waving bamboo trees; her 
forearms were covered with thin hair; her fingers were 
like the November flower which grows on the tops of 
high hills; her breasts, covered with light cq3oured 
beauty spots, were such as people thought it * would 
cause her pain to bear them, and were so high that the 
rib of a cocoanut leaf could not go between them; her 
navel was very beautiful and resembled a whirlpool in 
water. Her waist was so small that observers could not 
guess that it existed (and that it bore the weight of the 
body) with difficulty. Her pudendum was adorned with 
a megalai, many-stringed waist-band with many bells, 
looking as if it swarmed with bees; her thighs straight 
and thin like the trunk of a female elephant; her lower 
legs were covered with hair, as they ought to be, up to 
the ankles and her small feet were like the tongue of a 
tired dog. 58 


Means of transport. Ancient South India was not 
primarily a country of towns. There were a number of 
villages most of them self-contained and self-sufficient. 
Each village was a local unit by itself, as warranted by 
the then conditions. Intercourse between village and 

*fl. 25-47. ^ From Pre-Aryan Tamil Cultwp, p. 77. 


village, between village and town was not frequent. 
There were certainly roads which were confined mainly 
to towns. In the villages there were no metalled roads 
for vehicles to move easily on. The means of transport 
were mainly carts on the land and boats on the water. 1 
We have a reference to carts loaded with salt in the 
Perump&ndrruppad^ai. 2 With such means of transpert, 
there was not siufficient opportunity for the movements 
of, a mass of people from one place to another. The little 
intercourse they had was for purposes of trade and 
commerce . 

The Brdhm&nas. In a village, then, as we have 
to-day, there was an agrahamm or the street where 
Brahmanas resided, and other streets where agriculturists 
and members of cottage industries lived. Beyond the 
villages, in the hills and forests lived in huts, hunters and 
similar classes. Aharam is the name given to the 
houses of Brahmanas. We have a description of a 
Brahmana's house in the Penitthpanarruppadai from which 
it is seen that the Brahmana was engaged in Vedic rites 
and for this purpose reared in his own house the gentle 
cow. It would appear that this animal was released from 
the pandal for grazing in the village common, while the 
calf was kept at home. 8 There is again the evidence of 
the Tirmymni^^rruppadai wherein the position and 
duties expected of the Brahmanas are exactly parallel to 
the prescriptions of the DfaarmMsutrns. That these 
Brahmanas engaged themselves in performing yajnas, and 
that some of them took to the life of a recluse is also 
evident 4 J 

In the Timmwwgarruppadai we meet with a curious 
prescription in regard to the period of study. It 

* MadwaikkAnci, 11. 75-83; Pur am, 13. 

11. 252-3. Ml. 60-65. 

I. 297. +*Tintmuru. f 11. 126-35. 


is said that one must be forty-eight years old before he 
entered the householder's life. It would be interesting 
to know whether there is any similar injunction in the 
Dharmat&stras. To my knowledge there is no such 
reference. 1 

Agriculturists. Agriculture has always been the 
main occupation of the people of India and much more so 
of the people of South India. Much dignity was attached 
to that profession and people took to it with all seriousness, 
for on it depended as even now, the food supply of the 
people. After the seasonal harvests were over, it was a 
custom among these agriculturists to take to amusements 
of different kinds. The amusements consisted mainly in 
eating and drinkin'g, in singing and dancing. The food 
was not strictly vegetarian. From the Pvrunararwp- 
padai? it is evident milk and milk products and roasted 
meat were in large use. Rice grains cooked, and sweet 
cakes of different varieties were a part of the staple food. 3 
Fruits like the jackfruit and mangoes were also taken.* 
According to the Pemmpanarrtuppadai* preserved 
mangoes were used as pickles. Liquor was indulged 
in by almost all classes of people. It was of different 
kinds. Rice liquor, liquor brewed from honey, and 
palmyra liquor were all in lavish and popular use. 6 
This fact presupposes the existence of wine shops/ 
What is however curious is that these ancients did not 
make use of cocoanut liquor. At least we have not come 
across any such reference. 

Their wnwsements. Singing and dancing were 

1 Cf. 11. 179-80. For another account of the Brahmanas, see Maduraik- 
kfinci, 11. 468-73. 

11. 103-7, 115-6. *lbid. t 107-8 and 112-4. 

*Madraikkdnci, 11. 526-35. 11. 30&-10. 

Malaipatukafam, 11. 170-85; Perumpfy&rruppafai, 1 142; Paffyap- 
ptiai, 1. 89 ff. 

1. 180, 


other favourite modes of amusement. Every village 
had a common dancing hall called adu kalam* or 
0daroM@u* It was also the village theatre. From 
the term kalam* it can be inferred that the set 
place must have been an open maidan enclosed for the 
purpose.* The same ode further demonstrates the fact 
that there was a class of professional actors and actress- 
es. When public performances were held in these 
halams, women attended and took part in the hunahgai? 
a kind of dance. This is another instance of the freedom 
enjoyed by even village women in those days. 

Houses, etc., wi, the village. The houses of rich men 
of the village, like those in towns, were known as madam, 
implying thereby that they possessed an upper storey as 
well. Originally the houses were of timber and gradually 
stone came into luse. Many-eyed lattice windows were a 
characteristic feature of these houses. The residences of 
the poorer people were huts with mud walls and thatched 
roofs. 6 There is a description of a hut of an Eyinar in 
the Perumpanarmppadai which throws some light on this 
topic. The uha grass was the material used for thatch- 
ing the roof. A strong beam served for fastening the 
door. In the front of the hut there was a pandal thrown 
over thick props of wood in addition to a few stakes 
planted here and there. Around the hut was an exten- 
sive compound encircled by a thick-set hedge of thorns. 7 
There were also dogs. Oil-lamps were in use, made of 
stone or earthenware and were burnt with a cotton wick 8 . 
The lamp was lighted with fire made by churning wood. 9 

3 Mani, canto iv, 6. * See Kitfuntogai, 31. 

. See Silap., v, 1. 70. 

., 15, 13; PafttQoppabi, 11. 143-5. *fl. 117-129. 
* Kuruntogai, 353. 

1. 177-99. 


Fire for other purposes was also got by a similar operation 
as for instance, making holes in the flute. This 
reminds us of the custom of making fire by churning one 
piece of wood on another for sacrificial purposes even 
to-day by Brahmanas performing Vedic rites. 

The Twmils: lovers of Nature. Around the village 
in all parts were spread, as far as eye could see, extensive 
corn-fields and gardens containing fruits and flowers. In 
fact the ancient Tamilian was an ardent lover of nature. 
His observation of the Fauna and Flora was close and 
keen as is exhibited in ancient Tamil poetry. 

Their appreciation of natural scenery was such that 
flowers marked their ways of life, whether they pertained 
to the household or war. Different flowers and shrubs 
such as vetci, nocci, kanci, were symbolic of the different 
incidents of war. Garlands of flowers were a decoration 
both with men and women, the wearing of which was an 
indispensable feature of their social life. It need not be 
said that these fruits and roots afforded rich food to fhe 
ancient inhabitants of the Tamil land. Even the leaves 
of trees woven together were used as garments. The 
ancient Tamils of the prehistoric period, it would appear, 
began with leaf garments and the practice continued even 
in the Sangam epoch as is evidenced by frequent referen- 
ces to them in the Sangam literature. In the sutra of 
the Tolkappiyam (meyppattiyal) , there is a reference to 
this. It was a custom for the lover to present a leaf 
garment to his lady-love before the actual marriage. 1 


The whole of ancient Tamil literature can be roughly 
classified under two main heads: Aham and Piujwm. 
is love, the unparalleled joy and experience of a 

See /Vat*, 61, 116, 248 340. CintOmani, 66. 


married couple born out of harmonious life of enjoyment 
at home. Purwm, on the other hand, means anything that 
could be experienced by others as well as the institu- 
tions of state and society. If Aham is love, Puram is 
war. These two are essential factors of life. While the 
Sanskritists speak of four objects of life, Dharma (aram), 
Artha (pwul), Kama (inbam), and Moksa (vldu), the 
Tamil literature speaks of only the first three objects and 
omits vidM or moksa. While amm and porul form 
puram, inbam comes (under the category of Aham. 
Accordingly we have a collection of anthologies Ahan&- 
niiru and Punananuru. It is Tiruvalluvar who makes a 
clear presentation of the trmarga of Sanskrit literature. 
In this immortal work the Kunal, he makes a three-fold 
division, aram, porul and inbam* 

Forms of marriage. Sanskrit writers on the subject 
of marriage mention eight kinds of marriage: brahma, 
daiw, arsia, prajapatya, asura, gandharva, raksasa and 
paisaca. 2 

This means that eight forms of marriage were 
prevalent in the epoch of the Dharmasutras and 
Dharmasastras. A comparative study of this institution 
and that of the ancient Tamils is both interesting and 
instructive. In the Tamilagam, two forms of marriage 
were normal in earliest times though the Tamils were 
familiar with these eight forms by the time of the 
Tolkappiyanar. These two forms of the marriage- 
institution were the kalavu and the karpu. These are 
difficult terms to translate and may be roughly rendered 
as 'marriage in secrecy' and 'marriage overt/ 8 The 

*Cf. *n Tamil vol. 8> pp. 539-40. 

2 flWt ct^tClS^Nt HI*llHC*KCl*4lijt* I 

TFsHft TORWfa ^UhWIlHJlsqff: II Manu, iii. 21. 
8 1 have translated them as 'pre-nuptial love' and 'post-nuptial lovt' 
in my HMu Administrative Institutions, pp. 36-7. 


tribes who originally inhabited this part of India seem to 
have been the hill and forest tribes among whom the 
normal form of marriage was k&lavik Before regular 
marriage was celebrated, it was a peculiar custom that a 
certain person met secretly an unmarried girl and made 
overtures of love to her. This state of suspense 
continued till her parents came to know of this and got 
her married to her lover. This may roughly be said 
to correspond to the gandfaarva form of marriage. 
Mr. Thurston who has made a special study of the 
aboriginal tribes in different parts of South India 
mentions how even to-day a relic of this practice still 
lingers with some of the tribes in Ganjam, Coimbatore 
and Trivandrum. 1 

In the age of Tolkdppiyanar. Under the category of 
Ahattinai treating of different forms of love and 
marriage, Tolkappiyanar makes a three-fold classification, 
kaikkilai, \aintinai and peruntinai. 2 Let us examine 
the forms of love and marriage under each of these heads. 
Kaikkilai is that form of love where either the lover alone 
or the loved alone exhibits his or her passion respect- 
ively. This love is not reciprocated by the other party. 
Hence it is known as one-sided love 3 (orufialaikkamam) . 
Three kinds of this form are again distinguished. The 
first is the case of a lover who approaches an immature 
girl and expresses his love to her. This immature girl 
is termed pedai while the mature girl is termed pedumbai.* 
The second division of the kaikkilai form of love is where 

* Ethnographic notes in Southern India, p. 131. 

*A detailed and excellent survey of this topic is made by M. Raghava 
Ayyangar in his book Tolk&ppiyapporuladikara ftr&ycci. (Second Edition 


Cf , Ahem 1* Th|s kind of love to an immature girl is evident from the 
sttra (50) of the Telk&ppiycm *iru> VIT&IT g)ra>(?uj/rerf?L.ifi 


the lover and the loved are equally anxious for union 
with each other but the actual union is postponed Hie 
characteristics of this form are thus mentioned : accidental 
meeting/ reflections on the lady whether she was a god* 
dess or a human being, 2 anxiety relieved as he comes to 
know that she is only a human being, 8 overtures of love 
by gestures of eyes, etc.* The third division of the love 
under the heading hcrikkilai is evident from the sutra 105. 
This is known in literature as KollSrukddal or simply 
emkodal. This was largely in vogue in the mullai region. 
The custom among the members of the community of cow- 
herds was to let loose a rude bull declaring that 
he who would catch hold of it with success was the 
lawful husband of the maiden in whose honour the said 
event was fixed up. 5 This reminds us of the breaking 
of the bow by the epic hero Rama and his consequent 
marriage to Sita in the Ramayana. These forms of the 
Kaikkilai roughly correspond to the amra, raksasa, and 
the paijaca forms of the Hindu legal literature. 6 

The second great division is Aintinai or correlation to 
natwral regions. It has been contended with some truth 
that the course which each form of love or marriage took 
was generally affected by the geographical conditions of 
the land. We know that the ancient Tamils distinguish- 
ed five regions (tinais) : kwrinji, neydal, mullcti, 
pdlai and marudam. These names were given probably 
after the trees or flowers which grew abundantly in the 
respective regions. Social life in these five regions is 
an interesting study. Though there was much that was 

1 /rtl&. 

See also sfitra 62. 
s See Kali, 70, 71, etc. See also 94-6, 

6 For other details of Kaikkifai love, the reader is referred to the three 
stanzas of Kalittogti, 56-& 


common in the daily life of the people who occupied the 
five tinais still these differed from one another in certain 
customs and practices, social and religious. The Kurinji 
is a hilly tract of land where Nature enraptures her in- 
habitants by her romantic scenery. The Kalaviyal form of 
marriage leading to immediate consummation was com- 
mon in these hilly parts. Neydal is the maritime region 
where the woman passes anxious days and nights in ex- 
pectation of her husband gone to far-off lands in quest of 
trade. Mullai is pasture ground, and here perhaps even 
separation of lovers for a short time was a source of 
anguish and anxiety. For the cowherds leave with their 
cattle for the grazing grounds and return only in the even- 
ing after a day's strenuous work. Palai is the desert region 
where the separation of the lover from his beloved is so 
inevitable. In a desert region where nothing could be 
got a man had to go out to earn a livelihood for himself 
and his family. Here both halavu and karpu forms 
were prevalent. Lastly marudam is the fertile region 
where people lead a settled life of ease and peace. Here 
the normal form of marriage prevails. This might be 
the region where the karpiyal. form of marriage was 
popular as also the mullai and the neydal regions. 1 

The Perumtinai is the third great division of 
'Ahattinai of the Tolkappiyam. This division treats of 
unequal love matches and their evil consequences. 
This is also of different varieties. 2 Some of them are, 
first, for a lover to go in for a lady more aged than him- 
self, secondly, the forcible seizure of a lady by one who 
meets her by sheer accident with a view to satisfy 
his carnal lust; and thirdly to violently love a certain lady 
who is not only unwilling to return his love but sternly 

*See Nambi: Ahapporufvilakkam. Sen Tamil publication, (1913). 


refuses in spite of all overtures on his part. The last 
form of love is so violent on the part of the lover 
that he threatens her with his resolution to give up his 
life. This invoking of voluntary death went by the 
name of madaleruda? and varaipaydal? The Tolkappiyam 
gives it the name of Eriyamadarriram 9 while the later 
Tamil literature refers to this simply as madal. This 
seems to be .the peculiar Tamil custom of very ancient 
days. Maddened by love for a particular lady, the lover 
causes a cart of palmyra stem and a horse of jagged 
edges of palmyra leaf-stalks to be made, and seats him- 
self naked on the horse, painting his whole body with 
ash. He has in his hand a picture of the lady-love 
drawn not by artists but by himself, with his eyes stead- 
fast on it. He adorns himself with the garland made 
of bones of cats and flowers of Calotropis gigantea* 
He thus rides through the public thoroughfare, and halts 
there foodless and sleepless, regardless of rain and sun. 
Either he is married or executed.* 

This peculiar convention mentioned in the Sangam 
literature gave birth in later times to what is known as 
madal literature of which the extant works are the'* 
Periya-tirumadal and Siriya-tirumadal of Tirumangai 
Alvar. This idea of absorbed passion for a lady love 
and the resolution to give up one's life on her not yield- 
ing to one's wishes, has been pressed into service by the 
mystic poets and poetesses who yearned for the indis- 
soluble and eternal union with the God-love for whom 

5 Cp. Narrinai, 220; Kuruntogai 17, 173, 182 and 186. Kalittogal 
(neytafkali), stanzas 21, 22 and 24. E. Thurston informs us that some 
practice of this kind is now prevalent among the Badaga community of the 
Nilgiri Hill tribes. (Ethnographic Notes, p. 21.) See also TanicA-v&w*- 
kOvai, p. 89 (ed. 1893), though the account here given has no basis in ancient 


they bore infinite and indescribable passion of devotion 
and faith* 1 

An interesting question has been raised by the cele- 
brated author of the Tolkappiyam whether this practice 
of madalSrudal was proper in the case of women also. 
He himself answers with a simple No. 8 Thus the 
ancient practice of madol was confined only to men 
and was not prevalent among women. Tamil ladies 
were either not fired by such blind passion or were un- 
willing to take up such extreme steps. From aught we 
know of the heroic mothers and sisters of the Tamil 
N&du we may assume that passionate lust of a violent 
kind did not animate them as was the case with men. 8 

The varieties of love-marriages under the category 
of the Perumtinai may favourably compare, according 
to Ilampuranar, another distinguished commentator 
on the Tolkappiyam, with the Brahma, Prajapatya, 
Arsa and Daiva forms of marriage mentioned in 
the Hindu law-books. 4 Tolkappiyanar furnishes us 
with further details in regard to the main divisions of 

1 This has been already referred to in the chapter on Some Tamil 
Mystic Poets. 

* sec s&tra 35, cp. 

* (See also Tirumangai AJvar Periyarttrumafal) . 

* * 


u>L-$irffir QfffbruQflirtT 

See the gloss on Talk. Ahat., 

uir9uj $>? *iru>p&*r uSs& 
)gfiiu> iSffteu* L$rrrfrrupfdtu 

w QttvAr . 


kateviyal and karpiyal The katovu division constitutes 
the following four stages of love: 

( 1 ) Union of lovers brought about by fate. 1 

(2) Second union of lovers at the pldce of their 
first meeting. 2 

(3) Lover 's ittnion with love through the agency 
of his associate. 8 

(4) Lover's union with love through the agency 
of her associate. 4 

The first class is otherwise known as dcrivap- 
punarcci? nwnmtrupunarcci* and kamappunarcci* Here 
the lover and the lady love meet accidentally. The 
latter is such a charming damsel that he at first suspects 
her to be a goddess. From various signs and independ- 
ent sources, his anxiety is relieved and he boldly 
advances his love-request to her, followed by the parting 

The second stage is reached when the lover feels 
keenly the separation and resolves to meet her the next 
day at the same time and place. The lady love enter- 
tains the same feelings and goes out the next morning. 
Both meet and are happy only inwardly. She is~ 
overcome by shame to openly express her joy. Under 
the pretence of driving away from her face a bee, he 
touches her body technically termed meytottuppayiral.* 
Soon her friends appear on the scene and there is an 
abrupt separation. The third stage is when he meets 


See s&tra f 499. 
* Qjtusvu umrreQ. * 

See TirukkOvai, ML 

See sfitra, 102. 


next his companion to whom he narrates what all has 
happened. He is moved and offers like a knight- 
errant to meet his lady love and remove his agony of 
suspense. The companion sees her without her know- 
ledge, and returning asks his friend to meet her. Just 
then her friends disturb the scene and once more they 
part. The last stage is when the maid-in-attendance 
of the mistress plays a conspicuous part and hence known 
as toliyir-kuttam. The lover feels the difficulty of 
getting at her and resolves to engage the services of her 
maid-in-attendance. He approaches her and first under- 
stands her mind. She is aware of her mistress's passion 
for him. After taking her into his confidence he 
gives out his ideas about her mistress. She receives 
these though not warmly. On this he expresses his 
resolution of madalerudal. 1 This generates fear in her 
heart and she therefore arranges for their meeting in 
solitude. Now the outward manifestation of love is 
exhibited by both. Then she returns to where her maid 
had gone as if to cull a flower from the neighbouring 
creeper house. This continues for days together, some- 
times in the day and sometimes in the night. 2 

A few days thus pass by and the maid is afraid that 
the matter would be divulged. Hence she asks the lover 
to marry her mistress. 8 Finding him indifferent the 
mistress pines away and becomes pale. Her parents 
ignorant of what had happened treat her for some illness 
or other. Diviners and sorcerers are consulted. Obla- 
tions are offered to the deities. Finally she is deemed 
to be love-sick and her wedding is arranged with some 
other than the object of her love. The maid informs 
the lover of this and arranges for the secret escape of 

102. /*., 130. 


the mistress with the connivance of the nurse. The 
elopement becomes public and her kith and kin pursue 
the couple, but finding their daughter firmly attached to 
her lover, return home. 1 Then the marriage is cele- 
brated and both the master and the mistress lead the 
happy life of the householder. 

The next form of marriage, that was perhaps more 
popular in the epoch of the Tolkappiyam is the karpiyal. 
Here the marriage is arranged by the parents of both the 
parties and celebrated with all ceremonials and rites. 8 
It would appear that karpiyal is the consequence of 
kalaviyal which is the more original form of love and 
marriage. In the epoch preceding that of the Tol- 
kappiyam, the different varieties of kalaviyal were 
prevalent with the result that they came to be abused 
in course of time. From the simple form of love 
at first sight it grew into the complex institution that it 
was, during the age in which our celebrated grammarian 
flourished. What were the circumstances which contri- 
buted to this complexity at the cost of ancient simplicity? 
They are set forth in the Tolkappiyam itself. The 
gandharva system degenerated slowly but surely into 
the raksasa form as is evident from the phrase makatpar- 
kanci* according to which a person carried off his 
lady love by sheer force even when she did not agree 
to live with him. 4 Again falsehood, dishonesty and 
treachery entered into the system and spoiled the 
simple marriage organization. 6 These evils increased 

i Sutra 40. * Ibid., 142. 

9 UiSlLi trrjb */TfCT5. 
*S*tra, 79, 11. 14-15. 

8 QuKiLnyu) &t(ye^ff QprresrfBtu iSeareBrir 
gg<u/f iLjrrpfiGtnr &UGseru> crru Tol. Karp. Sutra 4. 

a.wr(?t_. (/&& 3.) 


in a predominatingly high degree that the guardians of 
society felt the need of certain conventions which would 
be binding on all the members of the community. They 
were already aware of the system in vogue among the 
first three communities and its advantages in ensuring 
peace and goodwill among the members of the society* 
Thus was ushered in the complex institution of mar- 
riage, which in course of time came to be recognized by 
the society at large. 

It would not be out of place here to examine the 

* * 

different stages of the karpiyal form of mairiage as 
mentioned in the Tolkappiyam* According to this sutra, 
the following are categorically the stages which mark 
the even course of this barpw institution : 

1. The first is known as marai-velippadutal* 
which occurred when a person took his lady love to his 
home with no interruption from her relatives, though the 
latter came to know of it, and then arranged for the 
regular marriage with the consent of his parents. The 
wedding took place after the mistress went through 
the vowed observance silambukali ndnbM* 

2. The second stage of this marriage was tamarir- 
pentfal.' Having come to know that their daughter 
had been carried off by such and such a person to such 
and such a place after a few days of their departure, 
her near and dear ones visited their daughter. When 
they understood that she approved of her master, the 
k>ver, they invited him to go over to their place and get 
the marriage celebrated in pomp and splendour. 

Thus whether the marriage was celebrated in the 
house of the bride or bridegroom the usual time for the 

* Sutra 500. * u>es>p 



celebration was four days. Three days were devoted to 
ceremonials and fasting, and the fourth day to the final 
consummation of the marriage as is evident from the 
sutra, 146. 1 

3. After the regular marriage, was the period of 
enjoyment malivM* During this time both of the newly- 
married young pair spent their days in ease and 

4. Next was the period of misunderstanding^ 
pularvi* This is explained by the Paripadal.* Accor- 
ding to this, the master begins to bestow his love 
on the prostitutes of the locality and spends all his 
time with them, little caring for his wedded wife . 
While maintaining steadfast her chastity during this 
temporary separation from her husband, she prayed to- 
the Lord to bestow the right wisdom on her husband. 
Mediators were not wanting to bring him round to the 
righteous path. These were twelve in number; the 
maid of the mistress, mother, Brahmana, his friend, panan^ 
his wife panini, messenger, guest, musician, dancer, 
astrologer and visitor. The Kalittogai adds the 
thirteenth mediator, the washerwoman. 5 

5. The next incident goes by the name of udal* 
The period of misunderstanding continues indefinitely 
and title more affected of the parties is the lover who is 
prepared for rapprochement at any cost. The mistress 
is stern and unbending. She feels that she has been 
badly treated for no reason of hers. An example of 
this is furnished by Pugalendiyar in Tamil Navalar 
Caritam where the queen of the Cola king is said to 
have extended the period of tidal* 

*Scc 11. 16-18. *72, 4., MU-*. KaM, SO* 

*r/> 1303. 


6. Yet another incident is what is known as 
unartal? The messengers notice the stubbornness on 
the part of the lady love and the increasing repen- 
tence on the part of the erring master. They actively 
go to both the parties and effect a reconciliation. 
Another incident in the karpiyal form, which is of course 
common in domestic life, is separation (pirivu) which 
is sometimes necessary and sometimes unnecessary. 
Generally, separation was of five kinds. 2 These are 
separation for higher studies, for the sake of the country, 
during war, being appointed as messengers, for the 
.sake of the Government, and for earning wealth. 

After the separation, comes again the domestic life of 
joy and happiness. Thus we see these factors are 
incidental to wedded life and both the husband and 
the wife must be prepared to face them. The Rural, 
as we shall see presently, devotes nearly 15 chapters to 
the agony of suspense on both sides during this period 
of separation, wanton or otherwise. Both live in the 
hope that in the near future they will again meet and 
enjoy the bliss natural to a wedded couple . 

In the age of the Rural. The Tirukkural which we 
have fixed at the second century B.C. is not far removed 
in time from the Ttilkappiyam, which we have just 
examined. Tiruvalluvar devotes the third book of the 
Rural to the subject of inbam or kama. It is divided 
into 25 chapters of 10 distichs each. A study of these 
verses shows that Valluvar has not made any departure 
in the treatment of his subject. He has largely followed 
the celebrated grammarian in his two main divisions of 
halavu and karpu. This confirms our opinion that in 
Valluvar's time, the customs had not changed and the 


institution remained almost the same. Referring to this 
section, the Rev. G. U. Pope remarks: These last 
chapters must be considered as an Eastern romance not 
fully told, but indicated in a number of beautiful verses 
which leave much to the imagination of the reader and the 
ingenuity of the interpreter. Taken as they are, these 
chapters are worthy of Theocritus, and much less open 
to objection than parts of his writings. Like the verses 
of Bhartrhari and other Sanskrit writers, these kurals 
merely portray isolated situations without any connec- 
tion as a whole'. 1 

Kalavu can roughly be compared to the Gandharva 
system of marriage. This is love at first sight. There 
are seven chapters devoted to this. The first refers to the 
youth seeing a beautiful maiden and falling in love with 
her. 2 In the second he recognizes love in her signs and is 
relieved of the mental worry (kurip partial). In the third 
the maid in attendance observes this and arranges for their 
meeting alone. They meet and are happy (punarcci- 
magiltal)* The fourth chapter treats of his mad 
passion for the maiden whose beauty he extols. 4 The 
following chapter deals with separation and its troubles. 5 
It is unbearable, and the youth sees no other way for 
reunion than the use of modal by which his love is 
avowed by him in the public street in a wailing mood. 6 
Then the parents come to know of this and get them 
married/ thus relieving them of their anxiety. 

The next seventeen chapters have for their theme the 
Karpiyal or wedded love. Here the different incidents 

, *The Sacred Kural Oxford, 18% p. 22. 
2 a>*iucarG<*> 3 



7 sirV>DaG>fff&> and 


natural to such married life are portrayed with all due 
excellence* One such incident is separation. The seem- 
ing bliss is broken. The mistress feels it keenly. Even 
to bid farewell to her beloved is impossible. She has 
already become emaciated so much so that her bracelet 
slips down. He has left the place out of necessity and 
she passes wakeful nights. Her eyes are consumed with 
grief. She becomes pale and thin and cannot endure the 
agony. Both, separated, dream of past joys and recall 
them to their sad memories which further tell on their 
health. She tries to control herself but looks forward 
with hope to meet him. His return is announced and it 
brings sunshine to her much-affected heart. 1 

Soon clouds seem to gather and prevent the long-felt 
sunshine. She notices signs in him which are not conducive 
to happy family life. There are certain misunderstand- 
ings but a reconciliation is effected. 2 The next incident 
is sulking 8 when both are seemingly angry. 4 The 
theme of the last chapter is in the words of Pope 'the 
pleasures of temporary variance*. The lover grows 
jealous but the youth knows it is only feigned jealousy 
and offers terms for conciliation. This is effected and 
it brings peace and solace to both the parties. 5 

Thus there is much in common with the incidents 
mentioned in the Tolkappiyam showing Valluvar's in- 
debtedness to his predecessor. 

The epoch of the Epics. It will be now interesting to 
describe the systems of marriage life in the time of the 
twin epics SilappadikSram and the Manimgkalai generally 
assigned to the second century after Christ. 

Marriage in high life. Almost in the early centuries 
of Christian era the marriage customs and rites were 

1151 to 1270. /Wtf., 1281-1300. 

1301 to 1320. */*<*+ 1321 to 1330. 


not very different from what they are now. That tradition 
persists in this land, there is no gainsaying. The 
marriage described in the Tamil classic Silappadik&ram 
is between the son of a wealthy merchant and the 
daughter of an equally wealthy merchant of Pumpuhar 
in the days of the Karikarcolan. Apparently these 
contracting parties belonged to the powerful and influ- 
ential Vaisya community. It is obvious that the 
varnasrama dharma system had come to stay in Tamil 
India in the beginning of the Christian era though we 
are not in a position to say when it was ushered into this 
part of ancient India. According to the prescription of 
Manu and other law-givers, a girl of twelve was married 
to a boy of sixteen. To-day we are having legislation 
for raising the marriageable age of boys and girls. The 
good old custom of the land seems to have fixed it at 
sixteen and twelve. But it may be remarked that differ- 
ent ages are prescribed for the members or different 
classes. But still the age mentioned in this work 
appears to be the normal one. 

It was not a love marriage. The choice of finding out 
husbands for girls and wives for boys rested entirely with 
the parents. Social and physical accomplishments were 
indeed qualifications which fixed finally the happy con- 
summation. Parents of both the parties conferred and 
agreed finally. The Purohiha fixed an auspicious day for 
the celebration. On that day or perhaps previous to that 
day, invitations were issued to all the people in the city. 
The form of invitation was peculiar. Elderly women be- 
longing to both parties in splendid attire, mounted on 
elephants, went in procession throughout the streets of 
the city and extended cordial invitations to every one to 
be present on the occasion. The procession was accom* 
panied by a music party. Various musical instruments 


were employed as befitting the great occasion. Drums, 
violins and mrdangams were the chief. Sankha was 
another musical instrument used. 

Marriage pandal. The marriage hall was gaily 
decorated, and it presented the appearance of an Indra 
Sabha. The pillars of the hall were set with diamonds 
and rubies of priceless value. There were hangings of 
flowers on the top of these pillars. The hall was covered 
by an exquisitely beautiful canopy of blue silk. Long 
rows of wooden columns supported the whole pandal. 
The floor was covered with fresh white sand so as to 
keep cool and pleasant. Apparently there was no cover- 
ing spread over this floor of sand. It may be that the 
guests and visitors used the floor as it was. Some of 
these descriptions are found in the Ahananuru, especially 
in stanzas 86 and 136. 

The religious function. This was the most important 
factor of the whole. The party leading the marriage pro- 
cession entered the pandal at the time appointed., 
The auspicious time was usually when the asterism 
Rohini was in conjunction with the Moon according to 
the Ahananuru also. At that time and as directed by the 
Purahita who was an aged and learned member of the 
Brahmana caste, the regular ceremonials began. The 
rites were purely Vedic and the important ritual was 
circumambulation of the fire-altar specially made for that 
purpose in the midst of a vast concourse of people, the 
Purohita chanting mantras. Yet another important 
function is the tying of tali round the neck of the 
bride by the bridegroom. 1 The major portion of the 
people present were the members of the fair sex. We 
need not say that women play a prominent part even in 
the present-day marriages. Elderly ladies then attended 



generally to the technique of the marriage rites. Some 
carried spices, others flowers. Some sang the glories of 
the couple, some carried sandal paste and others frank- 
incense. Some carried scented powders and others pots 
of palikai with seeds sprouting from them. With similar 
auspicious objects like petals of flowers and rice grains 
for benediction and blessing, women watched the pro- 
ceedings with glee and love. The religious rites over, 
there came the turn of every damsel interested in the 
well-being of the couple, to shower her blessings without 
stint. Sprinkling of holy water, throwing rice, grains,, 
and flowers on the heads of the young bride and bride- 
groom were some of the ostentatious ways in which 
benediction was offered. Every one of them wished them 
everlasting happiness. The bride particularly was the 
recipient of innumerable blessings from every side. The 
blessing was couched in words full of sparkling joy and 
hearty love: 'Be loyal and devoted to your husband both 
in word and deed. Do not slip even by an inch from 
the excellent and unrivalled path of chastity and 
purity both in mind and body; earn a name in the 
world as Arundhati, the illustrious wife of the sage 

The final blessings. These ceremonies over, the 
newly-married girl and her husband were taken to the 
bedroom decorated and ornamented with special cots and 
beds. On their entering the chamber, blessings were 
once again showered on them as 'the gentle dew that 
droppeth from heaven/ The function came to a close 
with a prayer for the welfare of the king of the land. 
This answers excellently to the atlrv&da rite nowadays 
when good wishes are exchanged and the king's welfare 
is invoked. For it is the king of the land who promotes 
the good of his subjects. Promotion of social practices. 


and progress of the world depend to a large extent on the 
peace and security of the land. And it is the king who 
.guarantees orderly progress. Hence special signifi- 
cance is attached to praying for the king's health. It 
may be noted in passing that the consummation-marriage 
was celebrated the same day. Hence it is reasonable to 
assume that such marriages were post-puberty marriages. 
There is evidence in some Dharmasastnas that such 
marriages were once extant and even legal. But later on 
they have been prohibited as is evident from the later 
legal literature. 


Art arises from the play impulse in man. Art is 
lx>th static and dynamic. Dynamic arts are arts of 
movement and rhythm, such as music and dancing. 
Music arises as an art from a spontaneous desire for the 
vocal expression of human emotions, and dance for the 
physical expression of such emotions. It has been well 
said that 'music is the dance of words and dance is the 
music of human limbs*. 1 The chief aspects of drama- 
turgy according to Indian rhetoricians are natya or dance, 
rupa or scenic representation, and rupaka or regular 
play. The ancient Tamils seem to have achieved 
the first two aspects of dramaturgy to a large extent. 
We have not been able to discover yet any actual 
dramatic compositions belonging to the so-called 
angam age. 

Legendary origin. In the Silapfradikiiram, belonging 
to the category of Sangam classics, there is a reference 
to the origin of this institution. It would appear that 
once Indra, the King of the Gods, gave a royal audience to 

*See K. S. RlUniswtai S&tri Indian Esthetics, p. 139. 


the distinguished guests, sages, and seers in his ideally de- 
corated durbar hall. Jayanta, son of Indra, was also pre- 
sent besides a number of heavenly actresses and dancing 
women like Rambha, tTrvasi and others. When the $abh& 
was in session and in the presence of distinguished 
persons and sages, Jayanta and tJrvasi are said to have 
misbehaved in a manner that enraged the sage Agastya. 
The sage felt that such misbehaviour under those circum- 
stances deserved condign punishment. Hence he pro- 
nounced a curse to the effect that Jayanta should be born 
as a bamboo stick in the Vindhya mountains, and that 
Urvasi should be born on the earth as a courtesan. But 
both of them fell at the feet of the wise sage, regretted 
their fault and begged his pardon. He would not go 
back on his word, but would mitigate its rigour. From 
that time forward the sage said that the institution of 
dancing would become popularly identified with Jayanta 
and that from Urvasi would come into being a line of 
dancing girls and actresses in the world. So it had 
become a custom even at the time of the composition of 
the Silappadikaram for dancing girls to trace their de- 
scent from the heavenly Urvasi. It is also obvious that 
there was a recognized work on the art of dancing 
known as the J\ayant\a perhaps answering to the Bharata- 
ndtyasastra in Sanskrit. Apparently the work is 
now lost. 

The Talaikkol. The name Jayanta is further cele- 
brated in the ceremony and worship of Talaikkol* 
which is an important feature of all dancing recognized 
in early times. In the middle of the stage specially 
constructed for dancing was a bamboo stick adorned 
with pearls and precious stones and encased in unalloy- 
ed gold, symbolical of Jayanta, perhaps the first dancer 



on the earth. It was kept in the central place so as to be 
clearly seen by all members of the audience sitting 
in front of the stage. This pole was generally the bam- 
boo stick which formed the handle of the white umbrella 
of an enemy king. Usually when the enemy king was 
defeated, it was the practice of the victor to appropriate 
some emblems of his sovereignty so as to show that he 
was the victor, and the enemy, the vanquished. One of 
such spoils of war was the white umbrella of the monarch. 
When once it became the property of the conquering 
king, he removed the stick that supported it and located 
it in a separate room in his palace as an object of 

On the day appointed for dance this sacred pole was 
duly washed with the holy waters brought in a golden 
pitcher. It was then adorned with garlands of 
pearls and flowers of different colours. It was after- 
wards taken in procession through the principal streets 
of the city on the back of the State elephant. The 
party leading this procession finally reached the dancing 
stage and had the stick once again located in the centre 
of the stage. It was a custom that the actress of the 
day must first worship this stick, for it represented, as 
already said, the first dancer on the earth. The stick was 
nor merely a decorative ornament. It was used during 
action. The actress took the holy stick and placed it 
on her head perhaps to serve as an equipoise when 
regular dancing began. 

Primitive dancing. That dancing which went by 
different names, attam, kutt\u, kunippu was a recognized 
mode of amusement among the ancient Tamils is evident. 
In fact dancing was a marked feature of every incident 
in the life of the ancient people. It was a sure ac- 
companiment of every joy of life and a means of efficacy 


in prayer. From the earliest available literature, the 
Tolkappiyam, we can gather that dancing 1 was a primitive 
institution indulged in by all classes of people. 
From the siltras* (60) and (76), it is obvious that 
there were two kinds of dancing named Vallikkuttu and 
Kalanilvikkuttu. 3 V\allikkiitPu is perhaps in honour 
of Valli, the consort of God Murugan, the War-God. 
This kuttu was popular among the lower classes of 
society. KalanilaikkuttM was of a higher order. This 
kiittM was arranged in honour of a young soldier who 
stood boldly in the front rank of the army and offered 
stout fight while others retreated. On his victorious 
return, it was usual that his friends presented him with 
what is known as vlrakkalal an anklet, and indulged in 
a dance. Besides these two kuthiis there was one other 
which was known as atal. The sutra (60) of the Pwrat- 
tinaiyiyal refers to Vetonveriy&paL* The chief feature of 
this dance was to offer ball or animal sacrifice to the God 
Muruga, and in the course of soich worship, one got pos- 
sessed with the spirit of the God and began to dance. 
Others in the crowd responded by joining in it. Generally 
it was held with a view to find out the nature of the trouble 
which a certain person was ailing from and also to get at 
some remedy for the same." There was another kind of 
&tal which forms one of the twelve tumis* under 
the sub-division of tumbaittinai in the section on the 
Purattinaiyiyal of the Tolkappiyam. It points to one 
method of celebrating a fellow-king fallen dead 7 
heroically in the field of action. It was a custom then 

1 ffsr_ Q/p*($ or different kinds of dancing. 

2 QQJf&tUf& &JDLJL3ear QS)I<SU6)HTLLI 

Qeuf&ujmL t-juhnp srrnp^w. 
9 0ttftta> *L.,i7. * 

Sec for details of this Kuttu the Tirumurugfirruppafai, 11. 222-4. 



that when once the king who led the host fell in battle, 
to whatever side he might belong, other kings stopped 
the fight, surrounded the dead body, and honoured it by 
a kind of dancing in which skilled sword play was 
a feature. 1 

Thus we see that both ritual dancing and war-dance 
were characteristic features of the Sarigam age as is 
evidenced by the Tolkappiyam. From the rude methods 
of &{tam and kuttu which were of different kinds, there 
evolved perhaps a kind of dumb show in which ideas were 
expressed by different postures and gestures. This 
became in course of time popular, and began to stay as 
an institution. Though there was .a development in the 
art of dancing, still the old kinds of kuttu and others died 
hard. They continued to exist side by side with the 
new institution. 

Ritual dance, for example, is prominently mentioned 
in the accredited Sangam works. It was inseparably 
connected with primitive modes of worship, much older 
than the epoch of the Tolkappiyaan. We have already 
seen it referred to by the grammarian. The references to 
it in the Kuruntogai, Maduraikkdnci and the Silappadi- 
karam show its popularity even in the Sangam age. 
Especially the worship of Murugan and Mayon had the 
dance as a relieving feature of the occasion. So also the 
worship of Korravai (Durga). The ritual dance associated 
with the worship of Murugan went by the names of veri- 
y&tal and velanatal. The priest who bore the vel, a spear, 
in his hands and who was a symbolic representative of 
the Velan, another name for the War-God, offered 

Q*ffesrfl* Qstrebr&Qff GW/rS 

tLenrsurrtsiQ ffi 


worship to the God Muruga in the then accepted ways. 
The method by which the God is invited to partake of 
the ball offering is described in an ode in the Kuruntogai* 
That the bali offering consisted chiefly of cooked rice 
and the meat of a sheep is evident from the Madwaik- 

The religious dance bound up with the worship of 
Visnu goes by the name of Kudam. 3 It is a form of 
ancient worship of Lord Krsna. These dances were 
primarily conducted by the members of the cowherd com- 
munity. One example of this is found in the Maduraik- 
kandwm of the Silappadikaram. When the Pandyan 
king pronounced death sentence on the innocent 
Kovalan and he was killed, there were innumerable bad 
omens which indicated some impending Calamity. The 
cowherd-women noticed these and began tf> pray to Lord 
Krsna to avert the danger. The form of prayer is 
known as Kumuaikkuttu. It is a peculiar form of dance 
wherein either seven or nine women engage each joining 
her hands to those of another. It was not tp. mere dumb 
show for the women engaged in this danc& ?lso sang in 
praise of the Lord. Another example of the Kuravaik- 
kfittu is found in the same classical work. After Kannaki 
lost her husband, she left the city and went in the western 
direction along the Vaigai until she reached a hill in 
which was situated the village of Veduvar. She stood 
underneath a vengai tree where the Veduvar in large 


ue&Giu. 362. 
Ml 611-17. 3 


numbers waited on her. At that time Kovalan appeared 
in divine form and took her away. This incident 
took those present on the occasion by surprise and 
they decided to venerate Kannaki as a goddess. In 
her honour they engaged in Kurwuaikkutlm accompanied 
by music. The Silappadikaram refers to another kind of 
ritual dance in connection with the worship of Korravai, 
the Goddess of Victory. This dance is called the 
VetpMVOvari described in the opening lines of the canto 
xii. Here the person who offers worship is not the 
priest but the priestess of the Marava tribe. In the 
middle of the high street of the village, the priestess 
danced, as if possessed by the goddess, to the great sur- 
prise of those present. 1 She predicted what disasters 
awaited the village and how they could be averted. The 
same work refers to the dance of iva immediately after 
the burning of the Tripuram. It is known as Kodukotti* 
or simply Kotti* Why this dance came to be known 
by this name is thus explained by the commentator 
Adiyarkkunallar. After having set fire to the Three 
Cities and when they were in flames, the Lord would not 
show mercy. On the other hand, He was so happy that 
he clapped His hands and indulged Himself in a 
dance. 4 Ilango-Adigal gives a fascinating description of 
this dance. 

Period of training. The Silappadikaraim contains 
quite an interesting and informing chapter furnishing us 
a wealth of details concerning the then extant music and 
dance. The musical instruments and the different kinds 
of musicians with their elaborate qualifications demon- 
strate beyond doubt to what degree musical science had 
advanced in the ancient Tamil land. At this time there 

* See also Puram, 2S9. 

9 Q*tnLt. *$ttap., canto vi, 43 


was a dancing community as such. The practice was to 
train young girls of that community for a period of seven 
years from their fifth to their twelfth year. A number of 
experts in different branches of the art of movement and 
gesture were appointed to teach them. Among these 
teachers we can mark out the dancing master, the vocal 
musician, the composer of songs, the drummer, the flutist, 
and the Vina master. At twelve, when the period of 
apprenticeship was over, the girl was to perform 
before the king at his assembly and obtain a certificate 
of proficiency in her art. Then and then alone she 
became a qualified actress. This incidentally shows 
that girls were educated in their respective hereditary 
professions under the direct guidance of experts, and 
education began from as early as the fifth year. What 
is true of one profession must be true of others also. 
Normally then we have to take it that the education of 
girls ceased when they attained the age of twelve. 1 In 
no way was the right kind of education neglected and 
this kept the standard of culture always at a high level. 

The \ancient stage. Dancing of an improved kind 
seems to have been the ancient form of the Tamil drama. 
Traces of this primitive institution are still said to be 
lingering in Malabar, under the name of kathakali. The 
institution reached a stage which necessitated a particular 
place, time and other favourable conditions. In a stage 
specially constructed for the purpose and in the pre- 
sence of the king and the public, the girl gave a public 
exhibition of her skill in the expression of emotions, by 
singing and dancing until she won the royal approval. 
The stage was erected on a suitable site. It was in 
breadth 42 feet and in length 48 feet. The unit of 
measurement was a straight pole of bamboo, six feet in 

1 Silap., canto iii, 12. 10-11, Commen. 


length. From the ground floor and at a height of 
six feet from the ground was the stage on which took place 
the presentation of individual situations with of course, 
accompaniment of musical instruments. The full height 
of the stage was 24 feet. At the top was spread a 
canopy painted with pictures of different sizes. These 
pictures were symbolical representations of gods and 
demons worshipped by all castes of people. 

There were two gateways, one for entrance and the 
other for exit. The pillars in the hall were so arranged 
as not to cast their shadows inside the stage. From 
pillar to pillar lights were artistically arranged. These 
were interspersed with hangings, some of pearls of 
dazzling brightness and others of flowers of various hues. 
At a fair distance from the entrance there were three 
screens hanging beautifully painted and decorated with 
many designs. One was a general screen which must 
be completely rolled up perhaps before any scenic repre- 
sentation. The second screen was of two different 
pieces of cloth open at the middle through which actors 
and actresses could freely come and go. The third was 
the secret screen which was meant for exhibiting gods 
and demons descending on the earth from heaven. The 
principal actress of the day took her stand near the right 
pillar while elderly ladies, incapacitated by old age, stood 
near the left pillar watching the representations on the 
stage, perhaps to check and correct whenever she 
erred. Those playing on different musical instruments 
took their appointed seats. The performance commen- 
ced with music. One could differentiate eleven kinds 
of time (talam). Performance over, the king awarded 
presents to her according to the merits of the performance. 

Music: Its antiquity. There was no dancing if there 
was no singing. In other words singing was an 


accompaniment of dancing, secular or religious. The 
popular name given to music in ancient literature is t&w. 
The traditional account of the three Sangams contained 
hi the commentary of the Imiyanar Ahappond mentions 
the names of ancient treatises on music like 
Sirri&ai, the Mudu-narai, Mwdu-kurugw, the 
which are now unfortunately lost to us. The mention 
of these ancient books is itself an evidence of the 
antiquity of the institution of music. 

Singing may be vocal or instrumental or both. A 
number of musical instruments are referred to in the 
^ Sangam literature, i&aikkamvi being the general term. 
Four kinds of instruments are distinguished tdrkaruvi 
made of leather, tulaikkanuvi provided with holes, 
iiarambukkarwui or stringed instruments and midarruk- 
karuvi or throat-instruments. 1 Kulal or the flute was 
the chief wind-instrument and was of various kinds. 
There were also different forms of trumpets of which 
the kombu was the most popular. Among the leather 
instruments forming the varieties of the drum are 
the parai, mwr\asu, perihai and others. Of the stringed 
instruments the yal occupies a prominent place and 
is of different kinds. There is a very good descrip- 
tion of the yal in the Pomnararmppada? and in 
another poem Pemmpaiwrmppiadai* A variety of tunes 
pan, panniyarripam, tiram, tirattiram was developed 
perhaps after each region. Peculiar and special measures 
were beaten as befitted the different occasions, such as 
war-music, marriage-music, music connected with dances 
secular and religious, singing associated with festivals, 
with death, etc. There was a class of bards of both 
sexes who were professional singers and musicians 

*See Pre-Arya* Tamil Quito**, p. 40. 
U. 4-18. *11. 4-16. 



p&nar, vipalis, etc. Most of them went from place 
to place dispensing music and thus earning their 
livelihood. 1 

The Tamilian genius for music is best illustrated by 
the Silappadikaram where a whole canto 2 is devoted 
to various aspects of musical science. Besides the texts 
the commentary throws welcome light without which it 
is impossible to make out anything of ancient music. 
In this canto mention is made of two kinds of kuttu: 
Ahakkuttu and Pwrakkuttu and eleven kinds of atal. 
Then, a number of musical instruments are mentioned 
as well as the qualifications of a musician 8 and a 
composer of songs. 4 The musician exhibited his skill 
either by playing on the vma or flute, or singing 
vocally, but in all cases accompanied by the low-toned 
mrdangam* and similar instruments. 

The commentator refers here to four kinds of vino, 
pgriyQl,* makarayaP $akod\ayal* sengottiyal* Speaking 
of the flute five kinds are distinguished according 
to the materials of which the flute was made. It was 
made of bamboo, sandalwood, bronze, red catechu and 
ebony. Of these, that of bamboo is the best, that of 
bronze middling and those of sandal, etc., are of inferior 
quality. Here seven holes are made for the seven svams : 
M* ri> &Q>> ww>> P&> da> n ^ and seven fingers are pressed 
into service when playing on the flute. The seven fingers 
are three of the left hand leaving out the thumb and the 

l See Perump&v&rruppajai, 11. 18-22. 

'Canto iii. 3 j^eo^^/rwr, 1. 36. 

4 *8Tpr,L/a}QJ6Dr, 1. 44. 

m*Jgp UITL- ei06D*</L.6Br tX&^fi?. Hi. 11. 26-8 


little finger, and four of the right hand leaving out 
the thumb. 1 

Of the musical instruments which were accompani- 
ments for any performance, thirty-one kinds 1 "* are 
distinguished. Apparently all of them are made of 
leather. ' 

The songster must possess the instinct to divide and 
expand the svaras by distinguishing the foreign from the 
indigenous. 2 He and his assistants who are the drummer 
and others must be versed in n&taka literature which 
is divided into two parts, 3 one probably relating to 
the king, and the other (Poduviyal) relating to the popu- 
lace. 4 The qualifications of a drummer, 8 of a flutist* 
and the vlna player 7 are elaborately explained. The 
drummer was to adjust his performance to that of the 
songster so that the latter might not feel the strain nor the 
ipp. 100-101, Ed. 1927. 

a These are : 
Qurfia>* 9 a variety of kettle- 


@L_*D<* a doudle-headed drum. 
u>jfi*ru> a kind of drum. 



an earthenware drum. 
a kind of drum. 

w do. 
variety of kettle-drum. 
one-headed drum. 
a small drum. 
a kind of drum. 
the big brum. 

UL.SU> tom-tom. 
ft-** tambourine. 

a fcj n d o f large drum, 
the drum of fishermen. 
0*6o>* tabour. 
^uo0i> a jjttie drum. 
,ii_/nr7 a kind of drum. 
<y>pe>j a drum in general. 
Qu>tTiBBx>0 a drum open at one end. 
*wrafl &ru>Li a kind of drum. 
^(Scrotc a kind of drum. 
*,UITIEI&U> do. 

a sma n drum tapering from 
each end, forming a small neck 
in the centre 

Silap. t canto iii, 11. 3445, 

8 Sitap.. canto iii, 11, 45-55. 
* Ibid., 11. 70-94. 

Ibid., 11. 56-69. 


audience. He was to supply the deficiencies by a 
process of decrease and increase of his instrumental 
sound. His skill entirely depended on the continued 

The flutist is an expert in what is known as cittirap- 
ptfnarppMt which is nasalizing the hard consonants in 
singing a musical piece. 1 He must so use his fingers 
that his playing is conformable to the rules of the musical 

The technicalities referred to in connection with a 
zftnd, performance are so subtle that it is difficult to render 
them in any other language. Of the fourteen palais or 
tunes connected with this, skill consists in utilizing the 
seven tunes or airs at one and the same time. In confor- 
mity to these fourteen palais, the sound was adjusted, 
four pertaining to the low key, seven equal, viz., neither 
low nor high, and three to the high pitch. From a study 
of this chapter it would appear that in the days of the 
Silapfiadikaram, three kinds of musical performances were 
distinguished the flute, the vlna and the vocal. These 
were served by a large number of accompanying instru- 
ments as occasion demanded. 


Doll festival. In dealing with the mystic poetess 
Andal, 2 we had occasion to refer to her celebrated work 
entitled Tiruppavai and incidentally referred to the vowed 
observance of young girls entitled Pdvai nonbu. The 
commentator of the Tirwppawai Periyavaccan Pillai 
speaks of this festival as Sistacara, and no ancient 
authority could be cited in tracing out its origin. The 
same festival is also referred to in the Tiruvembavai of 

1 See section A$4&1 in chapter iii of this book. 


Tiruvadavurar. Whatever might have been the origin 
of this festival, that it was celebrated by one and all 
of the unmarried girls is evident. The story goes 
that once when Lord Krsna was living in human 
form on this earth, there were no rains. At that 
time the cowherdesses began to pray to the Lord. One 
form of prayer was the celebration of margali nonbw by 
the unmarried girls. Early in the morning these 
girls went to the river Yamuna, took their bath, and 
prayed. They also wished to have Krsna Himself as 
their husband. 

A more or less similar version of the story is found 
in the Bhagavata Parana. From this it would appear 
that this nonhw went by the name of Katyayanl vrato for 
these girls are said to worship the goddess Katyayam 
who would help them in securing Krsna as their 
husband. The puja lasted for a month and on the last 
day, the Lord appeared before them and after a rigid test 
agreed to fulfil their wishes. 1 We know even to-day 
the orthodox Brahmanas performing what is known as 
the dhanurmdsa puj\a. They get up very early in the 
morning, bathe in the river, and offer worship. D'hamir- 
masa is the Sanskrit for Margali. Worship is also 
offered in all temples before sunrise in that month. 

This religious observance is not unknown to the 
Sangam literature. It is known as Tain-nlr&tal 
literally 'bath in the month of Tai'. 2 Why this came 
to be known as tain-nirapal is thus explained. 8 The 
festival was perhaps begun on the full moon day of 
Margali and then continued for a month up to the full 

i Dafantas kanda, ch. 22. 

* See the Parfy&4al D*/5//r/r@^6U ( s t. 11, 1. 17). See also Kalittogai, 
59, 80; Ainguru, 84 and AfafW> 22. 

3 See M. Raghava Ayyangar*s article in Tamil on Tamntoffo/ in vol. 4, 
No. 12 of the Harisamaya Div&karam, esp. pp. 276-7. 


moon day of the Pusyw. According to the calculation 
of the purnimanta system the month of margali after 
the fifteenth day is considered as tai. 

Nallanduvanar, the author of the Paripadal in ques- 
tion, designates this festival as ambawatal. 1 According 
to this authority, the festival commenced with the 
Tiruv&dirai day of the month of mdrgali. In his days 
the Vedic Brahmanas were engaged in the agnihotra rites 
when the girls after their bath in the Vaigai also wor- 
shipped the fire-god in order that seasonal rains might 
visit the land and they might secure good husbands. 
It is believed that the present festival of Arudra Darsa- 
nam or Tiruvadirai celebrated in the month of margali 
Wi the Tamil and Malayalam districts is a relic of this 
ancient practice of Pavai nonbu t In those days it was a 
vow observed by unmarried girls, the observance 
of which commenced with the beginning of margali 
month and came to an end on the foill moon day of that 
month. This practice of religious austerity was sacred 
to the goddess Katyayani. It was a belief then that by 
the grace of Katyayani the young girls could get suit- 
able husbands for themselves so that their lives could be 
peaceful and happy. What is remarkable is that it is 
being observed every year both by the followers of the 
Vaisnava and the Saiva cult. 

Spring Festival Kama Nonbu. Allied to the above 
vowed observance was another vow in practice, known 
as Kama nonbu observed religiously by the unmarried 
girls of the Tamil land. In an ancient work on 
grammar Ptimnirupajttiyal* there is a reference to this 
religious practice. It was generally observed by girls 
aged twelve. The object of worship was Kamadeva, the 
God of love. The aim of worship was to secure loving 

I St. 11. * lUirnaffU 


and proper partners in life so as to ensure full material 
enjoyments. It would appear that this observance lasted 
for two full months commencing with the month of 
tai. That this ancient religious practice continued to 
exist for a long time is evident from references to it in 
the later works Jwakacintamani, Perunkatai and Nacci- 
y&r Twumoli. In the Cintamani which is generally 
assigned to the eighth or the ninth century A.D V it is 
said that one Suramanjari observed this vow in order to 
secure Jivaka, the hero of the story, as her husband. 1 
Again we have the evidence of Penwkatai, probably 
a work of the same date, where Padmavati's vowed 
observance of Kamadeva is mentioned in order to 
secure Udayana as her loving partner. 4 There are 
again the soul-stirring stanzas of the Ndcciyar Tirumoli 
where Andal engages herself in offering prayers to the 
god of love to help her to wed the Lord enshrined in 
rirafiga. 3 These instances go to demonstrate the 
popularity of such vratas and how they were solemnly 
observed in a true religious spirit. 

Superstitious Belief in Astrology. In the age of 
Tolkappiyanar and perhaps much earlier, the ancient 
Tamils were superstitious, god-fearing, and prone to 
believe things readily. It was an age of crude astrology 
for this science was a later growth in the South 
Indian tree. Astrological calculations were curious 
and possibly peculiar to the simple and unostenta- 
tious life of these ancient peoples. The aid of astrology 
was sought whenever any one fell ill and the sickness 
was persistent. It was also pressed into service when 
calamities of any sort, providential or otherwise, 
threatened the country or were expected. The 

12057. 2 iii. 5, 27-33. 

1 See Alvdrkal K&lanilai, pp. 77-9. 



astrologers, it is interesting to note, belonged to the class 
of the mountain tribe, known as Kuravar and what is 
more remarkable is that it was largely the Kurava 
women who adopted fortune-telling as their profession. 
The term 1 Kuramakal k<uri eyini occurring in the 
Sangam works like the Narrinai (357) and the Purflm 
(157) shows that these Kurava women alone were 
engaged in this fortune-telling practice. That the male 
members also took to this profession is evident from 
the AinffMfunuru (394). 2 The relic of this very ancient 
custom is still preserved by the class of itarik-kurattis 
and Kudukytduppandis who go about begging from door 
to door in every village and town predicting good or evil 
for every member of the family. 

There were two modes of .arriving at a solution. It 
was either by what is known as kattw? or kalahgu* 
The method of kattu consisted in taking a handful of 
paddy grains at random and counting it by twos to 
arrive at a decision favourable or unfavourable. She 
who did this was known as kattuvicci.* This practice 
of predicting fortune by means of paddy grains finds 
mention in the works of Manikkavasakar and Tirumangai 
Alvar. In the epoch of the Tirukkov^i (285), it was one 
of the accepted ways of thought-reading. By the 
counting of paddy one would be able to give out what the 
other had in his mind. 6 Again Tirumangai Alvar refers 
to the practice of seeking the advice of a kattuvicci by the 

LD Tol. Poruf Stitra Quoted in 


relatives of a girl who was ailing from love sickness for 
Tirumal. 1 Reference is also made to this custom in a 
later work entitled Mlnaksiyamm&i Kurwn by Kumara- 
gurupara Munivar. 

The other mode of divination was with the help of 
the molucca beans. Fortune-telling from molucca beans 
by the Velan is as much an ancient custom as the 
counting of paddy for the same purpose. About the 
exact method adopted we have no authentic material. 
All that we know is that it was done by Velan the priest 
offering worship to Murugan. The Velan acted as the 
oracle and gave out what would happen and what would 
not happen. There are two ways of Velan telling the 
fortune or misfortune. One was veriyapal and the other 
was the choice of a root. Yet another method of appeas- 
ing the wrath of the deity was to draw a figure 2 just 
like the diseased person and make a present of it to 
the temple. 8 

The Velan method of fortune-telling is current even 
to-day in Malabar and in Cochin. 4 These persons are 
generally known as Mantnavadins and four kinds of 
Velan are distinguished: Bharatavelan, Vagai Velan, 
Panavelan, and Mannavelan. These resort to different 
practices by which they are said to effect sure cures 
for incurable diseases. 

Indra's festival. Ancient Tamil Nadu celebrated 
many a festival which have become extinct in course of 
time. Among such festivals two can be prominently 
mentioned. One is the festival of Balarama. The 
other is the festival sacred to Indra. According to the 

1 Sec Siriya Tirrtmafal, 11. 20-23. 

2 ut^uttL. 8 See Aingwu 245. 

4 See Caffes and Tribes of South India uoder the heading ' Vfclag/ Alto 
Pottyladik&ra artycci, p. 66. 
39 . 


Tamils, Indra is the God of the marudwrn region, ancl 
according to the Sanskritists, he is the lord of heaven. 
The inhabitants of the marudam region generally 
celebrated this festival which lasted for twenty-eight 
days. It was a form of prayer to remove one's difficulties 
and dangers. This festival is prominently mentioned 
in the twin epics, the Silappadikaran^ and the 

It was usually an annual function. The wjrayudha 
was the symbolical representation of the God Indra. On 
the eve of the commencing day of the festival, the 
citizens were told by tom-tom to adorn and beautify the 
city. The old dirty sand was removed from the streets 
and fresh sand was strewn. Over the temple flew aloft 
high in the air the auspicious flag. The entrance of 
every house was adorned with choice decorations. On 
this occasion all the officers of the state paid visits 
to the king and expressed good wishes to him and to his 
land. The chief feature of this function was the bathing 
of the deity Indra in the sacred waters of the Kaviri., 
Again during this period, fire oblations were offered in 
the other temples of Siva, Visnu, Balarama, etc. In the 
temple halls of even heretical sects, there were lectures 
on dhaniw and expounding of the Purdnas* There 
were also musical performances. The end of the festival 
was marked by the citizens taking a sea-bath with the 
members of their family. 8 

Though it is claimed that this Indra was a Tamil 
deity and has nothing to do with the Indra of Sanskrit 
literature,* still a comparative study of Tamil and Sans- 
krit literature tempts us to identify the festival with that 

iKSdai, v. *Md., 11. 179-81. 

3 t_o/r<S>^*>. 

Sec Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture, pp. 27-9. 


of the Indradhvaja well known to the Puranic and epic 
literature. The Visr^harmott\ar& Purana* gives the 
legendary origin of this festival. In one of the wars 
between the devas and asuras, the latter fled terrified at 
the sight of Indra's banner. Then Indra worshipped it 
and handed it over to king Vasu. According to the 
Dempiuram, Indra gave it to Soma and the latter in 
turn to Daksa. Pleased with the latter's worship Indra 
said that the king who would institute a festival in 
honour of this dhvaja would ever be prosperous and 
victorious. A special log of wood was to be cut and 
planted on the eastern side of the town. Elaborate 
rules are laid down for selecting the tree to be used. 
The piece of wood thus cut down was taken in 
procession to the city which was decorated magnificently 
for this very purpose. The festival came in Bhadrapada 
suklast&mi 2 when the dhv&ja was taken to the city. 
For four days prayers were offered, and on the last day 
was performed the ceremony of bathing. The period of 
the festival covered a fortnight. 

From this it would appear that Indra's festival was 
once celebrated also in North India and that it fell into 
desuetude in course of time. At least we have no evi- 
dence of its celebration after the commencement of the 
Christian era. 

Conclusion. It is no easy task to compress the 
several aims and features of the social organization and 
of the social life of the ancient Tamils even in a general 

1 Quoted in the Viramitrtidaya, pp. 425-33. 

3 The Deinpurana furnishes alternative dates Pr6$tapada Sukla$tami 
which is the same as the bhadrapada roughly October and asyina- 
Suklastami. (See Viramtrddaya, pp. 421-5.) It is interesting to see that 
the RtLmdyana mention's the latter date which is roughly the month of 
November, thus corroborating the account in the DftApwr&y&. (See 
Kijkindha, ch. 16, 35 and 38.) 


survey like the one I have attempted in the above pages. 
The field is vast, and the most conspicuous aspects to be 
dealt with are many and varied, I have tried to give a 
picture of the chief features of Tamil social life, at least 
such of those pleasing aspects which would afford rich 
food for thought to the antiquarian. Notwithstanding 
their intimate and close contact with Sanskrit culture, the 
ancient Tamils continued to live the simple rural life 
pursuing their own customs, occupations and supersti- 
tious beliefs. Though towns were few and far between, 
fashionable people lived in cities, and enjoyed a life of 
ease and pleasure. Apparently the influence of Sanskrit 
culture was felt greatly in towns and cities and introduc- 
ed into the simple life and organization of the Tamils, a 
complex type of a system of social polity which sought 
not to undermine the distinct features of the extant 
culture still fresh and pure, but to stimulate and elevate 
it to nobler achievements in the realms especially of arts, 
crafts and letters. 



Page 3, Ime 3. 

There is a reference to Perumbarrappuliyfir Nambi in an 
inscription, dated in the 36th regnal year of Maravarman Kula- 
sekara Pandyan, found in the temple of Tiruppattur, Ramnad 
District. It mentions a grant of land made to Nambi by temple 
priests. Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan was anointed king 
in A.D. 1268, and as the inscription is dated in his 36th regnal year, 
Nambi should have flourished towards the end of the thirteenth and 
the beginning of the fourteenth century (See M.E.R. No. 133 of 

Page 5, line 5. 

In the commentary of the Iraiyanar Ahapporul, there are 
several stanzas quoted from a certain K5vai celebrating the 
victorious deeds of a certain Pandya. What this Kovai was and 
who this Pandya was, have been recently brought to light. Pandit 
M. Raghava Ayyangar, conjectured on the strength of Kalaviyar- 
k&rikai, now edited by Mr. S. Vaiyapuri Pillai, that the Kovai 
under reference was P&ndikkovai and the king celebrated was 
Nedumaran, victor at Nelveli. (See Alvar-K&l(mttai 9 p. 55, note 
(II ed.) Madras, 1931; Kalawiyar-Karikai with commentary 1931, 
Madras) . This lends support to fix the date of the composition of 
the Pandikkdvai in the 7th century A.D, It then .follows that 
the commentary of the Iraiyanar Ahapporul should be assigned at 
best to the eighth century A.D. 

Page 13, Note 1. 

1 . Though the antiquity of the Tolk&ppiyam has been 
generally accepted by scholars, yet an attempt has been made in a 
recent publication to assign it to a much later period. (The 
Chronology of the Early Tamils by K. N. Sivaraja Pillai (1932) 
Appendix xv) . But we see no reason to revise the view 
expressed in this book. As against the argument of the mention 
of hdrq^in Tolk&ppiyam, a reference may be made to Mr. 
K. G. iSesha Ayyar's contribution to the Madras Christian 
College Mv0azfae, October 1917, pp, 177-9. In addition 
to the arguments advanced in favour of the Tolk&ppiyam 


the mention and use of yuktis in the Tolkdppiyam may be pointed 
out. It is a scheme in outline on which the construction of a 
treatise is based. Kautalya (4th century B.C.) furnishes thirty-two 
principles of the Tantrayukti. Only a few authors such as 
Vatsyayana, SuSruta and Caraka are familiar with such principles 
of exposition. While Caraka mentions thirty-five principles, 
Tolkappiyanar enumerates thirty-two and almost follows Kautalya. 
Therefore Tolkappiyanar flourished much anterior to Caraka 
and belonged to the same age as that of Kautalya. (See my article 
in/.O./f. 1930, pp. 82, ff.) 

Page 20, Line 3. 

For a fuller discussion of the Indus culture ,see my article on 
the culture of the Indus Valley in the Journal of the Madras Univer- 
sity, 1933. 

24, Lme 1 . 

The word Dramida Sanghataksara is found in a sutra in the 
Malayalam Grammar Llldtilakam written in Sanskrit. It means the 
letters of the Dravida Sanghata as distinct from Sanskrit. Accord- 
ing to this sutra P&ttu is written in Dramida Sanghataksara and 
has edukai and monai. (Mr. T. K. Joseph, Trivandrum drew 
my attention to this) . For the Dravida sangha among the Jains 
see S.I.I., VII, No. 441, p. 277.) 

Page 26, Note 1. 

A new edition of the Poruladikdram has been published by 
Mr. S. Kanakasabapati Pillai with commentaries of Naccinar- 
kiniyar and Perasiriyar (Madras 1934 and 1935) . 

Note 2. 

Cintamani or Jivakacintamani has been published by Mm. Dr. 
V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

*Valayd,pati and Kundalakesi are still lost to us. But stray 
stanzas quoted in Purattirattu now in mss. from these two works 
are published in Sen Tamil, Vol. I and also in Permtokai ( 1936) . 

Page 27, Note 4. 

There is another edition of Kuruntogai by Vidvan Arunachala 

Page 30 (6). 

. The KaKttogai has been recently published by Pandit E. 
V. Anantarama Ayyar in three volumes 1931 with copious notes, 


and a valuable index. A reference on page 962 of the third volume 
to the concluding lines of the commentator clearly indicates that 
Nallanduvanar who was the author of the fifth KM was also the 
compiler of the whole book. 

Pag* 30, (7). 

There is a new edition of the Ahandn&ru by the same editor 
,( 1933) Madras. It is to be regretted that there is no index to this 
edition. "" * -* 

Page 31, Note 2. 

A revised edition of the Puran&ntiru has been published by the 
same author. 

Section X. 

An excellent and revised edition of Pattuppdttu with the com- 
mentary of Naccinarkkiniyar has been published by Mm. Dr. 
V. Swaminatha Ayyar, "(Third edition) 1931. 

Page 33 (3) II. 34. 

Idaikkalinadu exists to-day as a little nadu in the south-west 
of Madras on the sea coast and bears the same name. Here still 
exists a small village named Nallur (Third edition of Pattuppattu 
p. 29). 

Page 34, line 1. 

Oyma nadu was between Palar and Pennar in the South Arcot 
and Chingleput districts. Kidangil (sirup&n) 1. 160 identified with / 
modern Tindivanam formed an important town in Oyma-nadu. 
(M. E. R., No. 143 of 1900) S.I.I., VIL, p. 64. 

Lme 10. 

We have to distinguish Vellore and other cities from the 
modern town of Vellore. The cities mentioned in the Sirupanarru- ^ 
ppadai were in the territorial division of the Oyma nadu in South 
Arcot district. 

Page 35, line 8. 

This Nedufijeliyan is celebrated as a relentless warrior in 
~Ahcm 36, where his conquest of seven kings is given prominence. 
See also 175 and 209. Puram (17) refers to his relations with' 
yanaikkatcey-mandaram-ceral-Ipumporai. |(See also st. 236) 


That he was himself a poet is seen from the verse 72. TalaiySlan- 
gSnam or TalaiySlankadu has a Siva shrine and here Nedunjeliyan 
is said to have conquered seven kings. 

Ibid. (7). 

This ancient Tamil idyll Nedundvada* has been translated into 
English by J. M. Somasundaram in the Journal of Indian History 
Vol. XIII, 1934, pp. 126-131. In a prefatory n6te Dr. S. 
K. Ayyangar, the Editor of the Journal refers to the different 
achievements of Nedunjeliyan^ as can be gathered from the larger 
Sinnamanur plates and concludes that the period of rule of this 
Pandyan must be sometime in the 3rd century A.D. (Ibid., pp. 123-5) . 

Page 36 (10) 1.3. 

Perunkunrur is in Iraniya mutta nadu (M.E.R., 
No. 290 of "1929-30). In No. 276 and 282 of 1929-30 Kil 
Iraniyamuttam and Mel Iraniyamuttam are distinguished. Kfl 
Iraniyamuttam is said to be Alagar malai, and the region round 
; about the Alagar malai in Madura district should have formed 
Iraniya mutta nadu in the epoch of the Sangam. 

Ibid. I 4. 

Nannan referred to here is the Velir chieftain of Senkanma 
now called Sengama lying to the west of Tiruvannamalai in Palkun- 
rakkottam of which Tiruvengadam (modern Tirupati) formed a 
part. "(Aham 97) . He is probably different from Nannan of lil 
hill (SaptaSaila) near Cannanore in Malabar District (see Aham 

Naviram hill now known as TriSulagiri or Parvatamalai in the 
Tiruvannamalai Tahiq, North Arcot District. Reference is made 
to this hill in an epigraph (S.I.I., Vol. VII, p. 49) . 

Tage 39. Note 4. 

There is also, an edition by Pandit E. V. Anantarama Aiyar 
with an ancient commentary and his own notes, (Madras, 1931). 

line 22. 

Pandit M. Raghava Aiyangar is inclined to identify Poyhai 
Alvar with Poyhaiyar on the strength of Yappawngalwifutfa 
(see Alvar Kdhnilai pp. 23 ff. (II ed.). Professor K. A. Nilakanta- 
Sastri has accepted this identification, (see The Cdjfls, I. pp. 64^6)- 


Page 40. (4). 

11. 2-3. 

Kcfinttai is published with commentary by Pandit E. V. 
Anantarama Aiyar, (Madras). 

Page 41. Note 1. 

Karndrpadu edited by K. Ramaswami Pillai with commentary 
and notes. There is a learned introduction to this edition. 
(Kalayukti year Madras). 

Aintmai first edited by R. Raghava Aiyangar in Sen Tamil 
Vol. I. Another edition is by Mr. S. Somasundara Desikar 

Page 42. 

Aintinaielupadu first edited by R. Raghava Aiyangar Sen Tamil 
Vol. IV. Another edition by S. Somasundara Desikar (1926). 


Tinaimalai-nurraimpadu has been published by the Madura 
Tamil Sangam (1904), Sen Tamil series, 8. 


Tirikadugam edited by Arumuganavalar with the commentary 
of Tirukkottiyur Ramanujachariar. (Madras) Fourth edition. 

ElOdi edited with commentary, (Ripon Press, Madras) 1924. 


Acarak-Kdvai edited with commentary published by R. 
Paramasivam Pillai of Tinnevelly. 

Page 44. 

Mudumolikktinci-published by the Ripon Press, Madras 

Page 45. Not* (1). 

See also Sib- canto, xxv 1, 132. 


Page 47. Note (i). 

In commenting on the term Velap-parppan, the commentator 
says a laukika-brahmana who would not engage himself in Vedic 
sacrifices. He is called urpparppan. Their occupation was 
manufacture of bangles from conches. That Nakklrar belonged to 
this community of Brahmans is attested to by the Tiruvilaiyddal of 
Nambi (16). 

JJEISE (gsB&s GHtflQiirerfl QeordjQtU6Br(o(n?it 
ucams ae&e&p uffutear Q 

p (st. 22) 

It is said that there is an jmage of Nakklrar and a temple 
dedicated to him in the Wesf Masi Street, Madura. There is 
another image in the temple of Tirupparangunram. 

Page 50, II. 27-28. 

This incident is referred to by Appar in the Tiruppattur 
patigam as 

nesruinUfcu Li&Gv^uje ffm&QLDjS 

ttfl>aearm& SiflpQiSla s^eflQ^ssr */rwr (Tev&ram) 

cp. Kalladam 

QuirjBfuuQLHr($iJueBr ......... . ..... Q/j(5"J/re5r. 

Sen Tamil VI. p. 56. 

Page 53. 

Kapilw a study in Tamil by V. Venkatarajulu Reddiyar 
published by the University of Madras (1936). He examines in 
note 3 of pp. 20-21 the theories regarding the marriage of the two 
daughters of Pari and believes that Kapilar gave both daughters to 
Malayan laying stress on unfipear ^cwL.tfffeoii before Quwr8swr . 
He thus rejects the account given in the Tamil Nawlar Caritam. 

Page 58. Note 4. 

The light thrown on the subject of the marriage of the 
daughters of Pari by the Tinukkoyilur Inscription dispels once for all 
the gloom that enveloped it. From colophons to Puratn 236 and 
113 we gather that Kapilar placed these princesses under safe 
custody. But what he did afterwards we could not say from 
literature* Here Epigraphy comes quite handy. A critical study 


of the inscription under reference indicates that after placing these 
princesses under safe custody, Kapilar called on the Cera king 
Selvakkadungd and received from him gifts of land and gold. To 
venture a conjecture, with this gift with which he returned to 
Tirukkoyilur he was able to effect the marriage of one daughter 
who was given to the chieftain Malayan. There is a view that 
both daughters were married at the same time in spite of the 
expression Quewfassr in the singular. Whatever this may be, Kapilar 
then bestowed his thoughts on attaining heaven and on the strength 
of the inscription we can safely say that he died at Tirukkoyilflr 
itself. If we accept the theory that Kapilar effected the marriage 
of only one daughter, then the tradition recorded in the Tamii 
Navalar Caritam fills up the gap. The other daughter's marriage 
was effected by Avvaiyar. 

Page 59. 11. 1-3. 

If we are to reconcile the statements in the Purm&#&ru of 
GUL-sStgisp siSeoir with that in the inscription jreou/(5<B *L9>/f, 
we have to infer that vadakkiruttal was of different kinds. One 
was by fasting, the second by falling into fire, and so on. 

Page 61. Note 1. 

The capital of this king Adigaman Anji was Tagadur the 
modern Dharmapuri in Salem District. Some scholars opine that 
it was in Mysore state. It seems to have been an important place 
in early South Indian Histoiy. This Adigaman belonged to the 
line of the Cera kings and was probably a chieftain independent of 
the Cera king reigning at Karur. He was a contemporary of 
Ceraman Perumceral Irumporai with whom he came into conflict 
in which he was killed. The Anji line continued however to rule 
after him in the same place (Tagadur) as is evident from several old 
inscriptions. Subsequent to the Cera epoch and till about A.D. 931 
it formed the capital of the Nolambas. (See /. of Mad. 
Presidency p. 1211). It is interesting to note from the Puram 
(392) 11. 20-21 and (99) 1. 2 that an ancestor of this Adigaman 
introduced the cultivation of sugar-cane for the first time in the 
Tamil land. 

Page 64. Note 5. 

A recent writer examines the relevant texts from the linguistic 
point and takes the view that this Paranadevanar could not be the 
Sangam poet Paranar. See Paranar in Tamil by Pandit Venkata- 


rajulu Reddiyar pp. 60-64, published by the University of Madras 

Page 65. Line 6. 

Awaiyar is still worshipped in a rock cut shrine in Adiganuf in 
South Travancore. 

Page 65. Note 4. 

A revised edition has been published (1932) by C 
Coomarasami Naidu & Sons, Madras. 

Pag* 68, 1. 11. 

The term Elini is interesting. The Adigaman line of kings 
beginning with Pokuttelini seems to have adopted the title Elini. 
This is evident from a reference in one epigraph of the thirteenth 
century. Here it occurs Qxgfiiuir <$etuj;} er\$asfi. This shows 
that for centuries together the epithet Elini was adopted and 
it also indicates that that line was a branch of the ancient Cera 
dynasty. S.I.L, Vol. 7, No. 75, p. 106. 

Page 71, Note 1. 

Tradition attributes the Padikawi to Ilarigo, and it is rather 
difficult to set aside the traditional evidence in this particular. 

Page 75. 1, 13. 

In Narrmai st. 216 by Madurai Marudan Ilanaganar the story 
of Kannaki after her husband's death is referred to. From this we 
can easily judge that the story contained in the Silappadikfiram was 
current even in the Sangam period. The poet calls Kannaki 
orumukti amtta tirum&vunni. It is mentioned here that Kannaki 
stood in a loft under the vengai tree. This is additional proof to 
show ihziTfjmgd'Adigal belonged to the Sangam age. 

Page 79, Sec. VI, 11. 3-4. 

Maduraikkulavanikan Sittalaiccattanar is mentioned in 
colophons to AfatoitinJlru "229, 306 and 320 and Pi4ra%a$&ru 59. 
Madurai Sfttalaiccattan occurs in Kuruntogai, 154. Kulavanikan 
fiattan occurs in the Silappadik&rwn and Manim?kalcd, From this 
it would appear that Sattan belonged to Madura and he bore the 
epithets fiittalai and kulavanikan. Some are of opinion that 
Slttalai was the name of his native village but there is reliable 


evidence to show that he was known by this title after his diseased 
head. (See for e.g. 9 Tiruvallwvamalai) . Thertttr0174 (Tolk. 
Soil) QluTiypp Quujtr is commented by $e#8,wraiyar "part being 
attribute of a whole" . This is what is called avayatrawycnA bhtivam. 
It cannot be doubted that one and the same Sattan is under reference 
throughout. (For more details see intro. to Purtwan&ru by Dr. V. 
Swaminatha Aiyar pp. 50-51). 

Page 81, Line 1. 

There has been an edition of the ManimtkakA before Pandit 
Swaminatha Aiyar published his scholarly edition with com- 
mentary and notes. 

Page 88, Sec. II. 

Saiva Mystics : See in this connection the learned introduction 
by Prof. F. Kingsbury and G. E. Phillips to their book entitled 
'Hymns of the Tamil Samte Samts* in the Heritage of India 

Page 92, 1.18. 

The date of Sambandar has been again reopened by Pandit 
M. Raghava Aiyangar in an article contributed to Dr. S. K. Aiyangar 
Comm. Volume (Madras, 1936) under caption 'Contemporaneity 
of Saints Jnana Sambandar and Tirumangai Alvar.' It is argued 
that there was a second invasion of Vatapi and that it took place 
about 675 A,D. in the reign of Paramesvaravarman I, son of 
Narasimha varman I. It is further argued that Nedumaran the victor 
of Nelveli who was converted by Sambanda to Saivism could not 
have come to the throne before A.D. 670. As Sambanda was a contem- 
porary of Nedumaran he could not have been a contemporary of 
Narasimhavarman I whose reign came to an end, it is presumed, 
before Nedumaran came to the Pandyan throne. It is thus made 
out that Sambandar should have flourished from Circa 670 AJD. to 
686, that is, the latter half of the seventh century. 

Page 97. 

The date of Sundaramurti : In his Origin and Early History^ 
of Scmnsm in South India (Madras University, 1936), Mr. C. V.* 
Narayana Aiyar devotes nearly 33 pages to establish his thesis, viz., 
that Sundaramurti lived after Manikkavaiakar. He assigns 


Minikkavasakar to the period between A.D. 660-692 thereby making 
him a contemporary of Arikesari, the victor of Nelveli and his son 
Koccadaiyan Ranadhira (see pp. 398-431). The date of these 
saints is always a disputed question, and nothing can be indicated 
conclusively. At present the generally accepted theory that prevails 
is that Manikkavasakar came after Sundarar. 

Page 99. Note 5. 

In the course of a conversation Mahavidvan R. Raghava 
Aiyangar of the Annamalai University drew my attention to the 
following lines of the Tirwvasagam which are an unmistakable refer- 
ence to Sundaramurti : 

In the light of this, it is difficult to maintain that Sundarar 
lived after Manikkavasakar. 

Page 101, Note 1. 

See again Manikkavasakar Puranam by Pandit V. Ganapati 
Pillai published (1933) by C.V. Jambulingam Pillai, Mylapore, 

Page 103, Sec. Ill, I 8. 

The name 'Alvar' has a peculiar significance of its own. It 
means one who has sunk into the depths of his existence or one who 
is lost in a rapturous devotion to the Lord. It is a word quite des- 
criptive of all God-intoxicated men/ So write R.S. Desikan and 
B.L. Ranganathan in their introduction to the book entitled Grams 
of Gold Madras (1934). See also section VI on the Alvars, Ibid. 
pp. 62-68. See again the introduction to Hymns of the Alvars by 
J.S.M. Hooper (Heritage of India series.) 

Page 105, Line 17. 

It is generally said that the Tiruvaymoli contains a thousand 
verses, though the actual number of the verses are more than that 
number. "" 

Page 114, Para. 2, Line 11 and Note. 3. 
The reference is to Nacciyar Tirumoli. 


Page 119, last para. 

The date of Tirumular which has been discussed bj 
V.V. Ramana Sastri in his introduction to Mr. M.V. Viswanatha 
Pillai's edition of the Tirumantirwn (Madras, 1912) has been fur- 
ther examined by Mr. C. V. Narayana Aiyar. On the authority of 
the stanza 1646 appearing in the VI Tantra wherein occurs the 
expression ptApuGnrL.) ODILIS^LD (five Tamil mandalas), and 
interpreting them to be the Pandya, Cola, Cera, Tondai and Kongu 
provinces, and assuming that the Kong*u mandalam came into pro- 
minence in the fourth century A.D., the fourth century is fixed as 
the lower limit, and the sixth century as the upper limit as the date 
of Tirumular. This is inferred from his reference to temples of the 
sixth century and earlier, (op. cit. pp. 206-224). 

Page 122, Sec. Ill, line 5. 
Vappuliyur near the modern town Cidambaram. 

Page 123, line 7. 
Vadalur very near the modern town Cidambaram. 

Page 123, 11, 25-26. 

There is a new biography in English by Mr. T. V. Govindarajulu 
Chetti, Bangalore, containing copious footnotes, appendices, and 
quotations from Tiru-Arutpa. See also Tiru-Arutpd, (jyi** 
eS^BO ujSui-i) (I-IV parts) by A. Balakrishna Pillai, Madras, 

Page 131, Footnote 1. 

That Valluvar is a variant of Vallabha has been confirmed by 
similar expressions in epigraphy. In South Indian Inscriptions we 
have the expression Rajasekhara Valluva Qnrrgfi** a sircar o/*rf$ 
Q/@U> ^u^fQffdjft ***u>, S.I.I., Vol. V, No. 75) . In the Annual 
Report for Epigraphy we have Pandyan Sri Valkiva uirmi^ajttr 
yfoy*>j*a/*r (M.E.R., No.. 46" of 1907). Thus Vallabar, 
Valkivar are variants. There is also the occurrence of the 
name of a Cera commander by name Nancil Valluvan. 
(Puram, st. 137-140). The Rajas of Valluvanad in Malabar 
district go by the name of Vallabhas (see Logan, Malabar Vol. I, 
P. 262.) In the light of this explanation and in the face of the 
authority of TiruvalluvtmGlm (4 and 28) where Valluvar is said to 
be an incarnation of Brahma it can be taken as settled that he was 


a member of the Brahmana community, (See also M. Raghava 
Aiyangar's introckiction to the edition of Tirukkural ed. by 
A. Aranganatha Mudaliar, Triplicane, Madras/ 1933) . 

Page 132, S*c. HI. 

The Age of Tinuvalluvar. See also Intro, pp. 3-9 in his book 
The Sacred Kural by H. A. Popley, (Heritage of India series 

Page 136, para 2. 

The Jain tradition says that Valluvar was a pupil of filacarya 
(M.S.R. Aiyangar Studies in South Indian Jainism pp. 42-4). 
According to inscriptions this acarya belonged to the village 
Hemagrama (Qu/rr 43^.7) To its northwest lay the Nilgiris 
(not the Nilgiris of W. Ghats) where he is said to have performed 
penance. As he belonged to the sixth century AJ>. (M.E.R., 1928-29 
pp. 88-89) and Valluvar belonged to the early centuries before the 
Christian Era,, it is difficult to accept the Jaina tradition. See also 
pp. 5-6 Nllaktsv ed. by Prof. A. Chakravarti, Madras, 1936. 

Page 150, Note 3. 

For a detailed study of the Kural polity see Prof. C. S. 
Srinivasacharya's article Some Political Ideas in the Kural in 
the Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX, pp. 244 ff. See also 
Dr. S. K. Ayyangar's Evolution of Hindu Administrative Institu- 
tions fa S. Indfa, pp. 56 ff . 

Page, 176, Note 1. 

There is a recent edition of the Tirukural with Manakkudavar's 
commentary, (edited by K. Vadivelu Chettiar, Madras 1925). The 
other available commentaries are unpublished. We have referred 
in the text to the commentator Parimelalagar who, tradition says, 
belonged to the city of Kanci. The other commentators of the 
Kural were nine. These are Darumar, Manakkudavar, Tanattar, 
Naccar, Paruti, Tirumalaiyar, Mallar, Paripperumal, and 
KSlingar, (see Ptruntokai (Madura Sangam ed. 1936) st. 1S38.) 

Pag* 181, II 2-J. 

See in this connection the contribution entitled Society md 
Religion in the Age of th* Tolk&ppiyam by Vidvan R. Viswanathan 
in the Dr. S. K. Aiypngar Comm. Volume, pp. 274 and ff. On the 
'Age of Tolkappiyctm from the linguistic point of view, see 


Dr. P. S. S. Sastri's article 'Some Landmarks in Tamil Linguistic 
History, Ibid. pp. 348-51, op. The Ancient Tamils Part I, published! 
by S. K Pillai, Madras, 1934. 

Page 207, Note 6. 

More details on this and other allied topics are furnished in the 
Introduction to my forthcoming book Silappadikdram published by; 
the Oxford University Press. 

Page 211, Note 1. 

cp. Vasistha Dkarmasostra (III, 13-14) . 'If anybody finds 
treasure, the king shall take it giving one sixth to the finder', and 
'if a Brahmana following the six lawful occupations finds it, the 
king shall not take it/ S.B.E., XIV, p. 18. See also Gautumot 
X, 43-45. 

Page 213, Note 4. 

In the Cola! inscriptions it is said that the brdhmadSyaf 
represented purely Brahmana villages which usually had names 
ending with Caturvedimarigalam. See p. 77, Studies in Cdla 
History and Administration by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, (Madras 
University, 1932). See also Dr. A. Appadorai: Economic 
Conditions of South India, Vol. I, p. 140. (Madras University, 
1936) . 

Page 219, 1 19. 

Nonpayment of kist was regarded also as an offence, (see 
Puram 35, and the Cotophon. 

Page 225, 1, 6. 

Kuri and Perumguri occurring in inscriptions have been 
generally taken to mean village assemblies. See the Tamil Lexicon. 
A critical examination of the terms*~and the circumstances under 
which they are mentioned in certain inscriptions makes us doubt 
whether they can bear that interpretation. 

Page 242, Sec. VII, Lme 4. 

Prayer for the victory of their king Nedufijeliyan by the maids 
of his queen. SetNediwahtOdai. 


Page 254, Sec. XII, 11, 2, 4. 

For a graphic description of the actual contest in battlefield 
in very early times, see Ptrumtogai, 532, quoted from Tolk. Nacc. 

Page 268, 1. 10. 

For the great importance attached to irrigation and irrigational 
facilities see Puram 18. 

Page 295, 1. 23. 

KtttfoakaU is perhaps a development from Sakkiyar Kuttu re- 
ferred to in the SilappaxKk&ram. A Tamil inscription, No. 65 of 1914 
of the time of Rajendra Cojadeva I records gift of land to Sakkai 
Marayan Vikramasolan for performing the dance (sakkai) thrice 
on each of the festivals: Margali-Tiruvadurai and Vaigasi- 
tiruvadirai, cp., No. 250 of 1926. Sakkaik-kuttu is called 
Aryak-kuttu. An Aryak-kuttoi with six acts was played by Kumaran 
Srikantan for which he got the Nrtyabhoga called Sakkaikkani in 
the presence of the god at Tiruvavaduturai, during the 18th year of 
.Rajendra Cola I. (No. 120 of 1925). The Aryakkuttu is generally 
\a drama illustrating stories and incidents from' the epics and 

Page 304, Note l. } 

Kuri-Eiyini is the name of a Poetess. She belonged to the 
Kurava community. 

Ibid. I 17. 

The use of Sulaku or seive in connection with the katpu may be 
noted. Perhaps the grains were placed in it before the actual 
counting commenced. 

Page 305. 

Indra's festival: Nedunjeliyan is said to have celebrated a 
festival in honour of Indra, the God of Rain, to prevent the 
recurrence of famine in his kingdom as seen by the Larger 
Sinnamanur plates. 



AbMdanacmtctonani (Madura Sangam edition). 

Acarakk&vai, published by R. Paramasiwan Pillai. 

Ahanantiru, ed. by V. Rajagopala Ayyangar. 

Ahapporulvilakkam (Madura Sangam publication, 1913). 

Aingurun&ru, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Aintinai-aimpadu (Madura Sangam). Another edition by Mr. S. 

S. Desikar (1918),., 
Aintinai elupadu, (Madura Sangam). Another edition by 

S. Somasundara Desikar, (1926). 
Annual Reports of South Indian Inscriptions. 
Baudhayana Dharmas&tra 

(i) (Mysore edition). 

(ii) Sacred Books of the East. 
Bhagavata Pur&na. 
Ceylon Antiquary. 

Dandi Alankdram, ed. by Kumaraswami Pulavar. 
Dandi Karvyadwrsa, ed. by M. Rangacarya, Madras, 1910. 

Do. Translation by S. K. Belvalker, Poona, 1924. 


Divyasuricaritam, ed. by Pandit Rangaramanujadasan. 
El&di, ed. by Pandit Govindaraja Mudaliar. Another edition by| tlic 

Ripon Press (1924) . 
Epigraphia Indica. 

Fa Hien ; A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms, Oxford, 1886. 

Imyavai-n&rpadu, ed. by R. Raghava Ayyangar. 
Inna-narpadu, ed. by Pandit Govindaraja Mudaliar, Madras, 1922. 
Inscriptions of Asoka, ed. by Hultzsch. 
IraHymar Ahapporul, ed. by S. Bavanandam Pillai. 
I -t sing : A Record of Buddhist Religion, translated by Takakusu* 
Jjvakacintamani, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 
/fainitoi-published by V. Anantarama Aiyar, (Madras). 
Kalavali-ndrpadu, ed. by Venkatasw3mi Nattar (Saiva SiddhSnta 

Works, 1924). Another edition by E. V. Anantarama Aiyar. 
Kalaviyal-Karika*, ed. by. Vaiyapuri PHlai, (Madras). 


KaRttogw, ed. by DSmodaram Filial Another edition by E. V.' 

Anantarama Aiyar. , 

K&mas&tra of V&tsydyana. 
Kamandakinltisara (Trivandrum Sanskrit series). 
Kam&rpadu, ed. by Pandit Govindaraja Mudaliar, Madras, 1917. 

Another edition by K. Ramasvami Pillai. 
Kautaliya ArthasOstra (Trivandrum Sanskrit series). 
Kuruntogaii, ed. by Pandit Rangasvami Ayyangar of Vaniyam- 


Mahavamsa, ed. by Wm. Geiger, 1912. 
Mahabh&rato (Kumbhakonam edition). 
M&nwadharmasa$tra, Nirnayasagar Press, Bombay. 
Manimgkalai, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 
Mudumolikkftnji, ed. by T. Selvakesavaraya Mudaliar, Madras, 

1919. " 

Ndladiy&r, ed. by V. Rajagopala Ayyangar, Madras. 

N&layira Divyaprafoandfaam, ed by D. Krisnamacari, Madras (III 

N&nmcwikkadigai, ed. by V. Rajagopala Ayyangar, Madras, 


Narrinai, ed. by P. Narayanaswami Ayyar. 
Nilakesi, ed. by Professor A. Chakravarti, (Madras, 1936). 
Padirruppattu, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 
Palamolin&niiru, ed. by f Selvakesavaraya Mudaliar. 
Parip&dal, ed. by V., Swaminatha Ayyar. 
Pvttuppattu, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 
Periya Purdnam, ed. by Arumuga Navalar. 
Periya PurQnawacanam, by Arumuga Navalar. 

Peruntogai, ed. by M. Raghava Aiyangar, (Madura Sangam, 1936). 

Perumkatai, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Pwgalandi (Ripon Press). 

Poruladikaram with commentaries of Naccinarkiniyar and 
PeraSiriyar, published in two parts by S. Kanakasabapati Pillai, 
XMadras, 1934 and 1935). 

Pufon&Q&m, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Purapporulvenbamalai, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Rfijanltirainakara (Patna). 

Ram&yana (Kumbhakonam edition). 

Svcred Books of Ceylon, Vols. I and II, London. 

SadogOparantati, ed. by Sadagoparamanujacariar. 

S&kuntala of Kalidasa. 


Schoff's Periplus. 


SUappadikaram, ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar (III Ed.). 

Sirupancam&lam, ed. by Pandit Anumugam Servai, Madras, 1923. 

Swaperumal Tiruvantati, ed. by Arumuga Navalar, Madras (III 

South Indian Inscriptions. 

Takkayagapparani, ed by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Tamil Lexicon (Madras University). 

Tamil Ndvalar Caritam, ed. by T. Kanakasundaram Pillai, 1921. 

Tanjai Vdnan Kovai, ed. by Tirumayilai Sanmugam Pillai, 1893. 

TayMmdncwar Fatal, published by P. Rathna Nayakar & Sons, 
Madras, 1927. ' 

Tevqram, ed. by Swaminatha Panditar. 

Tevdrattirattu of Agattiyar, Longmans, Green & Co., ( 1916) . 
Do. ed. by K. Sadasiva Chettiar (Saiva Siddhanta Society, 


Tinaimdlai-nttrraimpadu, (Madura Sangam, 1904) . 

Tinaimoli-aimpadu, published by Saiva Siddhanta Works. 

Tirikaduffam, ed. by Arumuga Navalar, (Madras, 4th edition). 

Tirukkovai (1) published by Sendilvelu Mudaliar, Madras, (2) 
ed. by Arumuga Navalar (IV Ed.). 

Tirukkovaiyar Unmai, ed. by Swaminatha Panditar. 

Tirukkural, ed. by Arumuga Navalar, (XI Ed.). 

Tirukkural, (1) ed. by M. Raghava Ayyangar, (1910); (2) Tran- 
slation by G. U. Pope (Oxford). 

Tirumantiram, ed. by M. V. Viswanatha Pillai, (Madras, 1912). 

Tirwvadavuradigal Puranam, Jaffna Edn., 1897. 

Tiruvaml-pdtirumurai-tirattu (1) ed. by V. Namasivaya Muda- 
liar, 1896, (2) ed. by J. M. Kandaswami Pillai, 1924. 


Tirtw&sagam, ed. by G. U. Pope. 

Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam of Nambi,ed. by V. Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Tirwvilaiy&dal Pur&nam of Paraiijotimunivar. 

Tolkappiyam Seyyuliyal, ed. by R. Raghava Ayyangar, 1917. 

Tolkappiyam Elutiadikaram, ed. (1) by Vidvan Subbaraya 
Chettiar, (2) by the Saiva Siddhanta Works. 

Tolkappiyam Poruladikaram, ed. by S. Bavanandam Pillai, 
Vols. I-IV. 

Tolkappiyam Solladikaram, ed. (1) by C. R. Namasivaya 
Mudaliar, (2) by Damodaram Pillai, (3) Tanjore Karandai 

' Edition. 


Travancore Archaeological Reports. 

V&istha Dharma Sastrw Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XIV. 

Viramitrddaya, Chaukhumba Sanskrit Series. 


Christian College Magazine, Madras. 

Educational Review, The, Madras. 

Harisamaya Divakaram, ed. by Rangaramanujadasar. 

Indian Antiquary, The. 

Indian Culture, Calcutta'. 

Indian Historical Quarterly, Calcutta. 

Journal of Indian History, Madras. 

Journal of the Mythic Society, Bangalore. 

Journal of Oriental Research, Madras. 

Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, London. 

Joural of the Madras University. 

Sen Tamil: a Tamil monthly, published by the Madura Tamil 


Tamilian Antiquary, The. 
Tamilian Friend, The. 


Anavaratavinayakam Pillai, S. 

(i) Awaiyar. 

(ii) Tamil Perumakkal 
Aravannithan, T.G., The Kavgri, the Maukhari, and the Sangam 

'Ayyangar Commemoration Volume, Dr. S. K. 
Ayyangar, S. K. 

(i) Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture 

( Calcutta University) . 
,(ii) Early History of Vaisnavism. 

\ (m) ManimSkalai, in its Historical setting^ Luzac & Co., 1927. 

(iv) Ancient India. 

(v) Beginnings of South Indian History. 
(vi) Evolution of Hindu Administrative Institutions fo 

South India. 

Caldwell, Comparative Dravidian Grammar. 
Das Gupta, Hindu Mysticism. 

Desikan R. S. and Ranganathan B. L., Grains of Gold, (Madras, 


Dikshitar V.R.R., The Mauryan Polity, (Madras University). 
Do. Same Aspects of the V&yupurana. (Do.) . 
Do. Hindu Administrative Institutions, 1929 (Madras 

University) . 

Duraiswami, G.S., Tamil Literature. 

Ganapati Pillai, V., ManikkavOsagvr Puranam, (Madras, 1933). 
Gopalan, R., Pall&vas of Kanchi (Madras University). 
Gopinatha Rao, History of the Sri Vtnsncwas (Madras University), 

Govindacarya, A., The Holy Lives of Alvars or Drwida Saints 

(Mysore), 1902. 
Govindarajulu Chetty, T. V. , Sri Chidambaram R&malingasw&miji, 


Hooper, J. S. M., Hymns of the Alv firs-Heritage of India Series. 
Inge, W. R., Christian Mysticism. 
Jayaswal, K. P., Hindu Polity. 
Kanakasabhai, Tamils 1800 Years Ago. 

Kingsbury, R, and Phillips G.E., Hymns of Tamil Sawite Saints- 
Heritage of India Series. 
Logan, Malabar, 2 Vols. 
Minakshisundara Mudaliar, P. R., Tolkappiyam golladikafa- 

vilakkwn, (1936). 

Do. An Interpretation of Poruladik&ram, (1936) . 
Narayana Aiyar, C. V., Origin and Early History of Saivism in 

South India, (Madras University, 1936). 
Natesan & Co., G. A., Madras, Appar. 
Natesan & Co., G. A., Madras, Nammatoar. 
Nelson, Madura District Manual. 
Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., The Colas Vol. I., Madras University; 

Studies V Cola History and Administration, (Madras University, 

1932). ** 

Do. The Pandyan Kingdom. 

Oolaganatham Pillai, Karikalaccdlan. 
Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition (Oxford). 
Pillai, S.K., The Ancient Tamils Part I. 

Popley, H. A., The Sacred Kural-Herita0e of India Series, (1931). 
Purnalingam Pillai, M. S., A Primer of Tamil Literature. 
Raghava Ayyangar, M. 
(i) Ahark<d-Kalanilai. 
(ii) CSran Senguttuvan (II Ed.) 
(iii) PoruladikSra^araicci (II Ed.) 
Raghava Ayyangar, R., VanjimtiMagur, 1917. 


Raghava Ayyangar, M., Vslir 
RSmaswami Ayyangar, M. S,, Studies in South Indian Jainism. 
Ramaswami Sastri, K. S., Indian AEsthetics, Sri Vani Vilas Press, 

Do. Saiva Somay&c&ryas (Vasanta Book Depot, 

Madras), 1927. 
Swanaintha Ayyar, Mahamahopadyaya, Sangattamifam Pirk&lat- 

Sesa Ayyangar, T. R., Dravidian India. 

Sesagiri Sastri, Tamil Literature. 

Sethu Pillai, R. P., Studies in Tirukkural 

Sircar, Mahendranath, Mysticism in the Bhagawadgita, Longmans, 

Sivaraja Pillai, K. N., Agastya in the Tamil Land (Madras 

University) . 

Do. The Chronology o\f the Early Tamils, 

(Madras University, 1932). 

Somasundara Desikar, SaiwaSikdmanikal Iruvar ,(1930) . 
Srinivasa Ayyangar, M., Tamil Studies. 
Srinivasa Ayyangar, P. T. 
(i) History of the Tamils. 
,(ii) The Stone Affe. 
(iii) Pre- Aryan Tamil Culture. 
Srinivasa Pillai, K. S., Tamil Varalaru. 

Subramaniam, K. R., Origin of Swivism (Madras University). 
Subramania Ayyar, K. V., Historical Sketches of Ancient Dekhan* 
Subrahmanya Sastri, P.S., Dr 

Tolkappiyam, Vol. I. Eluttatik&ram, (Madras, 1930). 

History of Grammatical Theories in Tamil, (Madras, 1934) . 

Tamil M olinul, (Trichinopoly, 1936). 

Do. Solladikarakkurippu (1930). 

Suryanarayana astri, V. G., History of Tamil Language, 1930. 
Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India. 
Thurston, Castes and Tribes of South India. 
Vaiyapuri Pillai, S., Critical Essays m Tamil. 
Venkatarama Ayyar, C. P., Town Plaaming in 'Ancient Dekhan* 
Venkatarajulu Reddiar, V, 

Kaptiar, (Madras University, 1936). 

Paranar, (Madras University, 1933) . 
Venkataswami Nattar 
(i) Nakkirar" 
(ii) Ka filar (1921). 
Warmington, Commerce between Raman Empbv and India* 


'Academy, 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 
16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 29, 31, 43, 46, 

Acarakantfam, 43. 

Acarakkdvai, 38, 43. 

Adangdtfu, 12. 

Afarangu, 269. 

yfefi bhagavan, 130. 

Adigamdn, 34, 60, 65, 68. 

Ajiyfirkkunallar, 6, 14, 65, 71, 72, 
75, 78, 294. 

>?tfu fco/aw, 269. 

AjukdtpGttucceralatan, 29. 

Agantas, 100. 

Agastya, 7, 10, 25, 52, 

Agattiyam, 8, 24. 

!40attryanflr, 7, 8, 10, 21. 

Agnihotra, 253. 

^Saw, 25, 30, 32, 47, 53,55,61,64, 

Ahananaru, 30, 31, 58, 66. 
Ahapporuf, 10, 11, 19. 
Aharam, 267. 

Ahaval (metre), 27, 28, 30, 31, 37. 
Ahavar, 184. 
'Aimperunkulu, 204. 
Ainkurunuru, 8, 24, 26, 28, 59. 
Aintinai, 273. 

Aintinai aimbadu, 38, 41, 42. 
Aintinaicceyyut or Tinaicceyyul, 42. 
Aintinai elupadu, 38, 42. 
Alara, 129, 130. 
Alattur Kilar, 252. 
A Ivar kalanilai, 40, 48. 
Alyars, 19, 72. 
Amaiccu, 195. 
Ambavatal, 302. 
Ammuvapar, 28. 
Anamalai Inscriptions, 105. 
Aiiantapadman, 255. 
Ancient Indian Historical Tradi- 
tion, 25. 
Andal, 3. 

Appar, 3, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96. 
Appudiya<Jigal, 94. 
Aram, 37, 40, 45. 
Arakkalam, 214. 
Afappor, 201. 
Arivudayanar, 8. 
Arimarttaoan, (king), 100. 


Army, groups of 231 ; compositipn of 

232; march of, 237-9. 
Arr&mai, 176. 
Arthaniil, 198. 

Arthasfistra, 14, 15, 21 (plural), 46. 
Arukan kdyil, 72. 
Arumuga Navalar, 38, 64. 
Arumugam Servai, 44, 
Arutpti, 123. 
A^Irvada rite, 287. 
Asrama, 140. 
Atan II, 243, 244- 
Augustine, St., 99. 
Avai, 187. 
Avanti, 78 
Aviyar, 55 
Avur, 234. 
Awaiytr, 53, 58, 60, 65, 66,68,69, 


Ay, 34. 

Ayakka^akkar, 209. 
Ayam, 205. 
Ayar, 179. 


Balarama, Festival of, 305. 

Baudhayana, 173. 

Beginnings of South Indina History, 

60, 63, 75. 

Belvetkar, 5. K., 23. 
bharatha Nafyas&stra, 76. 
Bharadhvaja, 172. 
Big Feed, 248. 
Brahmadeya, 213. 
Britons, 235. 
Biidapuranam, 8, 24. 
Buddha, 82, 
Budacatukkam, 134. 

Caldwell, 92. 

Caras, 164, 165. . 

Castes, Occupational, 222-3. 

Ceralatao, 71. 

Ceraman, 66, 68 (Manvcngo), 

Ceramao Irumporai, 28. 


Ceraman Peruma) Nayanar, 97. 



Ceylon. 2, 73, 74. 

Christian College Magazine, 74, 75. 

Christians of Malabar, 99. 

Cidambaram, 100. 

Cinnammiyar, 122. 

Clausewitz, 237. 

C0la 9 34, 61, 66, 69, 70, 78. 

C61a Nalluttiran, 30. 

Comparative Dravidian Grammar, 92. 

Commissariat, 239. 


Critical Essays in Tamil, 25. 

Daivappunarcci, 257. 

Daksinapatha, 226. 

Damodaranar, 16, 79, 90. 

Dancing Legendary, Origin, 288-9; 
primitive type, 290-1 ; ritual-dance, 
292-3 ; ancient stage, 295-6. 

Darufaniti, 163. 

Danti-varman, 98, 110. 

Darumi, 3, 49, 50, 51. 

Dharmanal, 198. 

Dharmapuri, 66. 

Dharma-Sastras, 22, 43. 

Dharma S&tras, 12,43. 

Dharma-vijaya, 201. 

Dig vi jay a, 201. 

Dinnaga, 84. 

Divakaram, 45, 47. 

Doll festival, 300-1. 

Dramaturgy, aspects of, 288. 

Dravijq stlu, 89. 

Dravidian, 1. 20 (culture). 

Dutas, 236. 

EMasinga, 128. 

Elini, 68. 


Enperayam, 204. 

Epigrafhia Indica, 92. 

Erumaiyuran, 66. 

Etti, 210. 

EtWtogai, 26, 32. 37, 59, 63, 80. 

Eyarkdn Kalikk&man&yanar Pura- 

nam, 97. 
Eyil, 34. 


Fauna and Flora, 270. 
Feminine Beauty, Ideal of, 265. 
Forms of Marriage, 271. 
Francis, St., 99. 

Gajabahu, 73, 74. 
Gdtama (the poet), 20. 
Gotamanar, 10. 
Gunabhadra, 95. 
Gunavayir Kdt^m, 71. 
Guruparamparai, 4. 


Halasyamah&tmya,3, 18. 
Harappa, 20. 
Himalayas. 34. 

History of the Tamils, 9, 10, 20, 22. 
History of Tamil language, 23. 
Historical Sketches of Ancie, 
Dekhan, 74. 

ItfaikaHnattunallur Nattattanar, 33. 
Ilampuranar, 1, 276. 
I jam Tirumaran, 8 
IJanjet Cenni, 33, 62. 
Ilankoa4igaJ, 70, 72, 80, 85. 
IlavandikaippalJi, 196. 
Imayavaramban Necjunjeralatan, 2 

245 ,247, 249. 
Inbam, 37, 45. 
Indra, Festival of, 305-7. 
Inge, W. R., 87. 
Intyavai Ndrpadu, 38, 40. . 
Inna Ndrpadu. 38, 40, 59. 
Innilai, 40. 
Interregnum, 192. 
tyaiyanar Ahapporut, 5, 6, 7, 18, ! 

24, 26, 31, 46, 47, 52. 
Irrigation, Interest in, 213. 
Irungove}, 58. 
Irungo Venman, 66. 
Isainunukkam, 24. 
lyal, 6, 23. 

Jayanta, 289. 
Jouveau Dubreuil (Prof.), 98. 


Kadaram, 247. 
Ka^amba, 245, 247. 
Kadungon, 30. 



Kainilai, 40. 

Kailaso, 97. 

Kaikkilai t 272, 273. 

Kakandari, 134. 

Kalangu, 304. 

Kalavu, 271, 274. 

Kalaikkaijnajar, 208. 

Kahviyal, 5. 19, 20, 23. 

Kalariyavirai, 7, 24 

Kalambakam, 24. 

Kalankdikkanni ndrmu&c-ceraL 29. 

Katavoli Narpadu, 38, 39, 252. 

Kalla<jr, 16, 26. 

Kalumalam, 39. 

Kalattalaiyar, 245. 

Kali, 8, 24, 30. 


Kahrigam, Battle of, 242. 

Kalippti, 37. 

Kalirriyanai Nirai, 30. 

Kalittogai, 13, 26, 30, 59. 

Kallatfanar, 139. 

Kamandaki, 151, 152, 161. 

Kama nonbu, 302. 

Kamban, 4. 

Kanakakasabhai, 94, 67, 72, 79. 

Kayaikkal Irumporai, 39, 252. 

Kanci, 34, 35, 82, 241. 

Kancittinai, 44. 

Kancjalur, 247. 

Ka^naki (wife of Pekan),60. 

Kannaki (wife of Kovalan), 73, 76. 

77, 78, 85. 

Kaynan Kalalinai, 4. 
Kapilar, 15, 28, 30, 32, 35, 36, 53, 54, 

Kapilar Ahaval, 54, 65. 
Karavata, 76, 220. 
Karuvur, 1, 70. 85. 
Karandai, 240. 

Kari, 34, 56 (horse), 61 (city). 
Karikarcolan, 32, 33, 36, 62, 64. 
Kariyar, 104. 
Kdriyasan, 38, 44. 
Karnarpadu, 38, 41. 
Karpiyal, Stages of, 280. 
Karpu271 274. 
Karu^akaran, 255, 256. 
Kattil, 182. 
Katfurai-Kadai. 76. 
Kattu, 304. 
Kattfalya, 14, 15, 46. 
Kavalmaram, 275. 
Kavarka^u, 260. 
Kavafa, 15. 

Kavatapuram, 8, 13, 14, 19. 
Kavidi, 207. 
Ktiviri, 33. 
Kavirippumpattioam, 34, 36, 77, 82, 


Kavadam, 14. 
Kavyadarta, 23. 

Kijk-kanakku, 37. 
KiJli-VaJavan, 251. 

Kojungdlur (Cranganore), 97. 
Kollam Era, 98. 
Kollerukocjal, 273. 
Kon, 179. 
Kofkai, 13, 190. 

K6vahTo, 75, 77, 81, 80. 

Kovur Kilar, 251. 

Korravai, 242. 

Koyil, 182. 

Kuijam, 293. 

Ku<}akko,29 . ^ 

IJanceral Irumporai, 29. 

Necjunceralatan, 61. 

Ku<Jalur Kilar, 28. 

Kunfalakefi, 26 

Kurat, 39, 45, 80. 

Kuravaikkuttu, 293. 

Kurugu, 8, 24. . 

Kuramakal KurieyiQi, 304. 

Kurinji, 42. 

Kurinjikkali, 79. 

Kurinjippdttu, 32, 35, 55, 59. 

Kurram, 222. 

Kuruhu, 25. 

Kuruntogai, 27, 45, 50, 55, 59, 66. 

Kuruntogai Nanuru, 8, 24, 26. 

Kutirparuvam, 238. 

Kuttu Ahakkuttu, Purakkuttu, 2% 

Kuttaranuppaiai, 36. 

Kuttu, 8, 24, 

Kuttuvan, 34, 63. 

Kuttuvan Ceral, 29, 63. 

Lassen, 99. 
Leaf -garments, 270. 
Legge, James, 83. 
LdkayStra, 125. 


Macdonell, 83. 
Madavi, 77, 81. 
Ma<Jalerudal, 275. 
Madura, 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 13 

15 ; (south), 16, 19, 30, 31, 46, 48, 

MadurakavigaJ, 4, 105. 



Unduraikkatici, 21. 32, 35. 

Maduraikkannac Kuttanar, 41. 

Maduraittokai, 3. 

Magadha, 78. 

MahGbharata, 20, 27, 78. 

Mahtoamsa, 2, 73, 74. 

Mahendravarman (Pallava), 92, 96. 

Maitottuppayiral, 277. 

M&kirti, 12. 

Malainatfu, 237. 

Malaipai}ukadam, 36. 

Malayaman Tiru-mu<Jikkari, 56, 251. 


Mamulanar, 133. 

Manaikan, 77. 

Uanava DharmasSstra, 142, 143, 144, 

145, 147, 148. 
Mavalur&siriyar, 16. 
Mangudi Marudanar, 32, 35. 
Mantfilam, 222. 
ManikkavaSagar, 88, 99, 100. 
Mannumangalam, 190. 
Manunlti Kantfa Cojan, 191. 
Manram. 218, 224. 
Mcwimekalai, 18, 22, 39, 47, 63, 71, 72, 

Mcwimidaipavalam, 30. 
Manipallavadvlpa, 82. 
Mantiraccurram, 204. 
M &pur&#am, 24. 
Maran Pojaiyanar, 41. 
MargaH nocbu, "301. 
Marakkanci, 246. 
Markkaijijgyanar, 10. 
Marudam, 1, 2>,2 8, 42, (tivai). 
Martidan Ilanaga^ar, 8, 30. 
Marwvur, 1. 
Mavajattan, 203. 
Medaviyar (Kai?i),43. 
Meghasandefa, 41. 
Mtrkavakku, 37, 41, 45. 
MinQk$iyammaiy&r, 121. 
Minakiammaikuram, 305, 
Mleccha, 171. 
Mohenjoddro, 20, 
Mu<Jattamakkai?i?iyar, 62. 
Mu^attirumaran, 8, 
Mudukurugu, 7, 24. 
Mu4inagarayar, 7, 10, 20, 31. 
Mudwrtrai, 7, 24. 
MudumolikkZiici, 38, 44. 
Mukundamala, 109. 
Mala Dtva, 76. 
Mulaikkaccu, 265. 
Mullai, 27, 42. 
MMaiyar, 43. 
MuUaikkali, 13. 

pWu, 32,34,35. 
nai, 28,42. 

Murinjiytir, 7, 31. 

Music Its antiquity, 296-7 ; musical 

instruments, 297; tones. 297. 
M usiri, 63. 
Muttatnii, 23. 
Muttaraiyar, 39. 
Muvadiyar, 42. 
Mycenean civilization, 233. 


Naccinarkkiniyar, 1. 5, 12, 26, 27, 3C 

33, 41. 

N&cciyar, 115, 
Naciketas, 86. 
Nadu, 222. 
Nadukal, 245. 
NagaramakkaJ, 206. 
Nakklrar, 5, 8, 15, 18, 32, 33, 35, M 

47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 64. 
Nalajiyfir, 37, 38, 45, 47. 
Nalladanar, 42. 
Nallanduvanar, 8, 30. 
Nalli, 34. 

Nalliyakkdfan, 34. 
Nammalvar, 4, 104 ff. 
Nandi Varman Pallava Malla, 110. 
Nanmanikadikai, 38, 40. 
Nannan (chieftain), 36. 

Kingdom, 36. 
Nappacalaiyar, 53. 
Nappudanar, 35, 

Narasimha Varman I (Pallava), 92. 
Narmudicceral, 29. 
N&rai, 25. 

Narrinai, 27, 56, 59, 66, 80. 
Narrwai N&nuru. 8, 24, 26. 
Natakam, 6, 23, 
Natkol, 238. 
Naviram hill, 36. 
NeiumQn Anji, 60, 66 (Adigama? 

Necjuman) 67, 68. 
Necjunjehyan, 32 (Pan<Jyan), 34, 3 

(of Talaiyalahganam), 78. 
Nedunceralatan, 62. 
Nejunal V^ai, 32, 35. 
Ne^unilaima^am, 263. 
Necjufijeliyan II, 254. 
Netfuntogai, 8, 24, 26, 30. 
Nejuvelkunram, 78. 
Negapatam, 110 (the Buddhist ima; 


Nelson, 92. 
Neydal, 28, 42. 
Nightwatchmen, 260. 
Nilakantanar, 16. 
Nila, 236. 

Nilandaru Tiruvir Paij<Jyan, 12. 
Nlraliman<Japam, 196. 



JNoah's Ark. 89. 
Nocci, 241. 
Nil ft war ICaggar, 74. 

, 34. 

Qlakkamantfapam, 18. 
OlvatkSpperunjeralirumporai, 197. 
Ori, 34. 

, 56 (chieftain). 

Origin of Saivism, 92, 98. 
Orambogiyar (poet), 25. 
Ottakuttar, 4, 245. 
Cviyar (clan), 34. 

Padikam, 24. 

Padinevkilk-kavakku, 26, 37, 40, 59, 

Padirruppattu, 8, 26, 28, 29, 53, 58, 

59, 63, 64, 67, 75. 
Padmavati, 303. 
Padumanar, 39, 
Pd/oi, 27", 28, 41. 
Falai Gotamanar, 29. 
Palamolin&i&ru, 38, 44. 
Pafamudir Sdlai, 32. 
Palyanaiccel Kelu Kuttuvan, 29. 
Palyanai Kuttuvan. 29. 
Pallava Raya, 93. 

Pallavas of K&nci, (The), 92, 96, 98. 
Pa&ain&tfu, 14. 
Pa*4ya, 66, 68, 78. 
Pannatfutanda Pantfyan Marudan 

Valudi, 27. 
Panca M&lam, 44. 
Pawiruppattiyal, 37, 302. 
Parani, 244. 

Paranar, 16, 59, 60, 63, 64. 
Paranjotimunivar, 3, 16, 48, 98. 
Parasthanam, 238. - 
ParaSara, 172. 
Para^urama, 144. 
Pari, 34, 55, 57. 
Pargiter, 25. 
Parimelalagar, 29, 38. 
Pariptjal 7,8,24,26,29,37. 
Parifads, 12. 
Patalipuram, 93. 
Ptyaliputra, 133. 
Pa^iman^apam t IS. 
Pattini Devi, 250. 

Patttvappaat,& 34, 36. 
Pattuppw*. 26, 31, 32, 35, 37, 48, S4 

d*), OV. *** 

Paul St . 99. 

P ?o'f TT 3&g* 2l 

Pehan, 34. 

PekaQ (Vel Pekan), 55, 56, 60. 

Pewaiy&r, 56. 

Ptr Asiriyar, 6, 14, 18, 27. 

Perisai. 8, 24. 

Periplus, 2. 

PeriyapurSyam, 69. 

Penyatirumoli, 3. 

Perum Kau^ikanar, 36. 

Peruficorrunilai, 238, 

Perungunrurkkil&r, 8. 

Periya Puravam, 3, 4, 91, 93, 97. 

Perumahgalam, 219. 

PerunaJ, 219. 

Perum Devanar, 27. 

Perumbarruppuliy&r Nambi, 3. 

Perumkunrur, 36. 

Perumkunrur Ki}ar f 53. 

Perumpdnarruppafai, 32, 34. 

Perum Pekan, 62. 

Perunar KiJli, 61, 68. 

Perunsendanar, 16. 

Peru yirarkkijji, 62. 

Peyanar, 28, 

PiJlaiyattu, 182. 

Pirakattan, 35, 54, (Brahmadatta), 

Pliny, 2, 63. 

Podiyil, 224. 

PokuUelini, 68. 

Ponmucjiyar, 244. 

Pope, G. U., 283. 

Porunar. 244. 


Porut, Ilakkcwam, 52, 

Porunan, 66. 

Porunararruppafai, 32, 33, 34. 

Poygaiydr,, 31, 252. 

Poyhai Alvar, 39. 

Poyyafcmai Illdtapulavar. 99. 

Poyyil Pulavar, 134. 

Ptolemy, 2. 

Pulavi, 176,281. 

Pumpugahtr, 93. 

Fwram, 20, 25, 31, 32, 39, 53, 55,56, 57, 

58, 60, 61, 62, 65, 66, 67, 68. 
Puratzfinurw. 8, 11, 24, 26, 31, ( 

Purattivai, 39, 44. 
PUri. 27. 
Purikkd, 27. 
PuroSu, 194. 
Puvainilai, 181. 



Rajanya, 132. 
Rajasimha. 6. 

RfijasiiyamvettapcrunarkiJli, 104. 
Raja Ratnakara (Tbc), 2, 74. 
Rajasimha Pallava, 98. 
Rajasuya, 68. 
Rajarajacola, 236. 
Rafavali (Tea), 2, 74. 
a, 14, 15, 78. 

Siruk&runikar Pur&yam, 47. 
, 38,44. 
i, 32, 33, 56. 

Sabha at Uraiyur. 216. 
Safagopar Antati, 4. 
Satfaiyan Kavi Sivacari, 96. 
awa Samayacaryas 9 98, 99. 
SoiVa Siddhanta Works Society, 

$avna*as, 88,90,93,104. 
Sawydga, 176. 
Samayakkayakkar, 47. 
Sangam, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 6. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 

12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 

31,32,37,49,50,53,64, 66, 69,75, 


Sangappalakai, 17. 
Sangappalakai tantapafalam, 16. 
Sangattamilum Pirkalattamilum, 21, 


Sangata, 22, 23, 24, (Sarat, Drami<Ja) 
Safijaya, 236. 
Satakaryis, 74. 
Sattandaiy&r, 41, 
S&vakam, 83. 
Sekkiiar, 69. 
*/aw, 176. 
elvakka<Juhgo, 29 
Selvakkadungovaliyatag, 29, 58. 
S^Qavariyar, 1, 26. 
Sendagar, 40, 41. 
Scneanan, 39. 
Scnguttuvati, 29, 62, 63, 64, 70, 72, 73, 

74, 85. 

S** Tamil 26, 30, 39, 44, 58, 65. 
Siddhars, 88. 
Srlkalatti Pur&nam, 52. 
Slkali, 193. 

Silatnbukali 6tibu f 280. 
Silappadik&ram, 6, 13, 15, 18, 70, 71, 

$././., 7. 

$iwam<mi&r plates, 6. 
Sirkar, M abcndranath, 86. 

Kavir&yar (of Ccwfir), 

Siruttoqdar Pur&#am L 92. 

Sittalai Sattaoar, 16, 72, 75, 79, 80, 84 


Siva Peruman Tiruvantati, 64. 
Siyali. 89. 

Sri Sankar&c&rya, 53, 89, 
Sudra, 181. 
Sumatra, 83. 

Sundaramurti Ndya&ar, 88, 96, 97, 9! 
Suramafijari, 303. 
Svamimalai, 32. 

Tagadurerindaperuficeral Irumpo 

rai, 29. 

Tain-nlratal. 301 
Takajur, 66, 68, 69. 
Takaijuryattirai, 245 f 
Takakusu, 83. 
TakkayQgapparayi, 4, 6, 23. 
Talaikkol, 289. 
Talayalanga&am, 34, 35. 
Tamil Dantfi Alankaram, 23. 
Tamilian Antiquary, 14, 32, 99. 
Tamil Literature 1 38, 48. 
Tamil Navalar Caritam, 16, 58, 6 

Tamils 1800 Years Ago, 61, 64, 6 


Tamil Perumakkal Vara!&ru,99. 
Tamil Varal&ru, 13, 96, 98, 99. 
Tamarirperutal, 280. 
Tengalai t 4. 
Tenurkilar, 16. 
Tev&ram, 3, 88, 89, 91, 97, 99. 
Teyvaccilayar 26. 
Tilakavati, 92, 93. 
TUMI* , 27, 42. 45. 

Tipai malai Nurraimbadu, 38, 42,4 
Tinaimoli Aimbadu, 38,41. 
Tingalur, 94. 
Tirumular, 117i 
Tirthas, 205. 
Tiruccendiir, 32. 
Tiructralavay, 32. 
Tirujnana Sarnbandar, 3, 88, 89, ! 

Tirujna#a Sambandamtirti Nayat 

Pur&vam t 3, 4, 91. 
Tirikajukam. 38, 42. 
Tirukkdvai, 101. 
Tirukkoyitar, 56, 58, 59 (Inscr 




iTirukkural, 12, 13, 21, 37, 38, 79. 

[Tirutnangai Atyar, 3, 
(Tirumurugattuppajai, 32, 48, 52. 
\Tirumu4ikkari, 58. 
iTt r wnurai, 64, 90, 97. 
Tirunagari, 4, 104, 109. 
Tirun&manaltor, 96. 
TirunGvukkaraSu, 94, 95. 
Ttrftndzmfe&araf u NGyan&r PurGnam, 


Tirupparankunram, 32. 
Tiruppavai, 3. 
Tiruttonfattokai, 119. 
r<rw/<Jctez/*r, 54, 100. 
riritt/ckfcw/wr Atfigat Purdnam l 101. 
Tiruvaymoli, 4- 
TiruvaHuvar, 38, 54, 65. 
Tiruvaftuvamalai, 13, 79. 
Tiruvfrur, 97. 
Tiruvasagam, 99, 101. 
Tiruv&vinankufc, 32. 
Tiruveragam, 32. 
Tiruvilaiyajal, 16, 48, 64, 97. 
Tiruvilaiyadal, Pur&nam, 2, 16, 18. 
Tiruvilimilalai, 90. 
Tirttvorriyur, 97. 
Ti^tyan, 66 
Tokainilai, 23. 

Toprfatwat* (King of Kanci), 67. 
Ton<Jaiman IJandirai>arj, 32. 34. 

piyam* 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 
Tolkappiyanar, 7, 12, 21, 25, 26, 32. 
Toi?4ara$ippoiii 116. 
Travancore, 235. 
Treasure-troves, 211. 
Trivarga, 125, 
Tumbai, 241. 
Tu^angai, 269. 


O<Jal, 281. 
Udayakumaran, 82. 
Udiyaij Ceralatan, 20. 
Uha grass, 269. 
Ukkiraperuve]udi, 8, 68. 
Ulifiai, 241. 
UmbarkGju, 63. 
Umbarkattuvari, 63. 
Unoanilai, 181. 
Upadhas, 159. 
Upanifads, 12, 86. 

Uppfiri ki^i kijar, 16, 308ff. 
Uruticcurram, 204, 
Utthana, 186. 
Uruttiran Kaijijanar, 34. 
Urunirasannan, 30. 


Vadagalai. 4. 
Vahai, 242. 
Vaigai (river), 1. 
V air am eg an, 110. 
Vajra Nandi, 21flf. 
Va]ayapadi, 26. 
Vallabha, 131. 

Valji, 54. 

VaJli dance, 240. 

Vangya Sekhara, 16. 

Vancjaiyar, 258. 

Vanji, 70, 240. 

Vanjik-Karuvur, 259. 

Varaguna, 98, 99. 

Varaipayidal, 275, 

Vari, 8, 24. 

Yarn as ram a dharma, 285. 

Vatsyayana, 174. 

Vtdar anyam, 90. 

Velanatal, 292. 

Velkelukuttuvan. 62. 

Vellore, 34. 

Velir varaldru, 58. 

Vellanaiccarukkam, 97. 

Velvikufa grant, 106. 

Venbanialai, PurapporuJ, 239 a 


Venirparuvam. 238. 
Vengaimarban, 235. 
Vennil, 243. 

Vennik-kuyattiyar, 245. 
Veriyatal, 292. 
Vetci, 240. 
Vettuvavari. 294. 
Viccikdn, 57. 
Viduppu, 176. 
Vidyamanfapam, 18. 
Vikramacola, 245. 
Vijambinaganar, 40. 
Vifijaiyan, 192. 

Vijaya Raghunatha Chokkalinga 

Nfiyakar, 120. 
Vinnandavan, 194. 
Vipralambha, 176, 
Virakkals, 245. 
FtVa/l, 65. 9M 
Viramitrodaya, 307. 
Virasvarga, 234. 


Visamtlrtapadikam, 95. 
riytfamfilai Ahaval, 8. 24. 
St 175. 

336 INDEX 

.w y 

Y a j*aSn.74. 

. 195, 

Some Select Opinions on the First Edition. 

The Times Literary Supplement, London. The mass 
of Tamil Literature is considerable, and Mr. Dikshitar is 
one of the foremost authorities on the subject 

The Indian Antiquary. Mr. Ramachandra Dikshitar, 
who is a Lecturer in Indian History in the University of 
Madras handles the literary and traditional evidence with 
discrimination and good sense. 

Journal of the American Oriental Society. He has 
produced a useful book and thrown needed light on a dark 
spot in Indian History. 

The Modern Review. This is a good scholarly set of 
studies for which the interested public will remain grate- 
ful to the author; and we hope more such studies will 
come from the author's pen and let us hope, editions and 
translations of some specimens at least of Saftgam 
literature . 

The Pioneer, Allahabad. In this volume Mr. 
Dikshitar sustains the reputation he made as the author 
of 'Hindu Administrative Institutions/ 

Dr. A. Berriedale Keith, University of Edinburgh. 
I have read with great interest your work and in special the 
chapters on administration, the art of war and social life. 
They are very attractively written and ensure a cordial 
reception of your new work. 



Bloch in his letter, dated 1 131931. 
. L&vi who told me that his first im- 
was very favourable; he had seen in 
ition relating to Manimekalai on which 
published a paper. As regards me, I pro- 
book fully as I see I have so much to learn 
from it. 

Dewan Bahadur Dr. S. K. Aiyangar. He brings to 
work the wide outlook and intensive study which he has 
shown elsewhere' and the work covers a wide range of 
topics relating to the history and culture of the Tamils. I 
have no doubt it will prove a contribution of considerable 
importance to the study of South Indian literature. 

Rao Bahadur K. V. Rangaswami Aiyangar. (Now 
Principal, Benares Hindu University) : Let me con- 
gratulate you most warmly on its excellence considered 
as a piece of historical writing, I have honestly enjoyed 
reading it. Monographs on Tamil History and Literature 
have often been confused, pedantic and tedious. You 
have successfully avoided these defects. You have 
mastered your material and have not been mastered 
by it, with the result that one can find in almost every 
page of your book evidence of your wide reading as well 
as of your gifts of clear vision, acute criticism and balanced 
judgement. Your great knowledge of both Tamil and 
Sanskrit has given you an unique advantage over most of 
those who have hitherto written on South Indian Litera- 
ture and History v 

Mr. K. G. Sesha Aiyar, Triwndnm. I regard your 
book as a most important contribution to the study of 
ancient Tamil literature and history. I wonder how a 


Sanskritist like you was able to come by the wealth of 
material, which you have so well utilised and presented, 
so as to yield valuable results regarding the culture and 
polity of the early Tamils. You have studied your literary 
materials with sympathetic interest; and throughout the 
book your broad outlook, keen perception of essentials and 
a fair historic sense are present. Once again let me con- 
gratulate you on the excellence of your work.